Skip to main content

Full text of "Speeches of H.W. Allan, M.P. and W. McGregor, M.P. on the fisheries of the Great Lakes [microform] : Ottawa, Friday, 5th July, 1895"

See other formats


Motts^ of Commons J9^b^t^$ 




H. W. ALLAN, MP. and ^. McCxRECJOR, MP. 




Mr. ALLAN. Mr. Speaker, I desire to 
refer to the fishery interests of the Great 
Lalies, and to say a few words respecting 
the fishery policy of the Government. You 
will recollect. Mr. Speaker, that I brought 
this question before the House at the last 
session of Parliament. (3n that occasion my 
time before six o'clock was very limited, and. 
being unable to be present after recess. I 
was prevented from entering into the dis- 
cussion of the subject as fully as I in- 
tended. The then Minister of Marine and 
Fisheries followed in a veiy lengthy speech, 
giving an elaborate review and defence of 
his so-called fishery policy. The hon. gentle- 
man was evidently verj' proud of that great 
effort, for his speocli was i)ut in pamphlet 
form and widely distributed throughout the 
fisliery districts. I am very glad that he did 
so. l)ecause his defence was simply no de- 
fence at all, and the people wore enabled to 
see tliat there is practically no justification 
whatever for the extraordinary and ruinous 
fishery policy of this Government. 

The hon. gentleman's speech was a very 
characteristic one— slightly tinged with ex- 
travagance in tone and a trifie reckless 
in statement. In fact, all the important 
statements made by the hon. gentleman 
were utterly without foundation. The 
most important statement he made was 
that our fisheries had been depleted, whicli 
be ascribed to overfishing in Canadian 
waters. If that statement were true, it 
would remove, to a very great extent, 

the ground of complaint against this 
fisliery policy, made not only to-day, 
but for years past. The charge has 
been that Canadia.QS were not permitted to 
fish— that they were not permitted to enjoy 
the profits of the vast trade that has been 
carried on for many years in the Lake Erie 
fisheries. Overfishing ! Why, Sir, the 
statement is absurd. An examination of the 
statistics bearing on this subject will con- 
clusively prove that. When we look at the 
comparative catch on both sides of the lake, 
what do we find ? That in twenty years 
the American fishermen have caught, on the 
American side of Lake Erie, not less than 
800,000,000 pounds of fish more than have 
been caught on the Canadian side. Hon. 
gentlemen from Nova Scotia can compre- 
hend the magnitude of these figures. Why, 
Sir, it would take the entire catch of the 
24,000 fishermen of Nova Scotia for eight 
years to make up this excess. The annual 
catcli in Lake Erie on the American side 
has been double tlie entire Canadian catch 
of fisli in the wliole chain of lakes — I.#ake 
Superior, Lake St. Ciaiir, Lake Huron, Lake 
Erie and Lake Ontario. The American fish- 
ermen have ciiuglit eiglit fisli to our one, and 
this has been going on continuously ever 
j since ISTO. and in fact in all the past 
1 years of wliioh wo have any re<'ord. The 
people have protested against this policy 
for years. Year by year they have been 
pointing to the fact that, owing to the policy 
' of the Department of Fisheries, a vast and 

profitable trade has been thrown almost ' 
entirely into the hands of the American 
people. And yet the Minister of Justice 
could have the assurance to set up in this 
House and state that our fisheries in Lake 
Erie have been depleted from overfishing. 
He declared that no member from the 
Lake Erie district would rise in his place 
in this House and state that the Lake Erie 
fislieries on both sides have withstood suc- 
cessfully the onslauj;ht ma<le year by year 
upon them. There have been no onslaujrht.?. 
there has been no overfishing, on the Cana- 
dian side of Lake Erie. Tlie very fact that \ 
the Americans have caught this great quan- 
tity in excess of the Cr.nadian catch, and 
are continuing to the present day to catcb 
yearly from 40,000,000 to 50,000.000 pounds ; 
in excess of the Canadian catch, amply 
proves the statement I have made. Now, Sir, 
if the Americans did not take a single fish ; 
out of Lake Erie, they are ahead of us \ 
one hundred years in the catch of the last 
twenty years ; that is, it would take the 
Canadian fishermen 100 years to make good . 
the excess ol the fish caught on the Ameri- 
can side in the last 20 years. And 
yet the Minister of Justice tells the 
House and the country that there has ; 
been overfishing on our side. Our fish- ' 
eries are as good as theirs ; they are said 
to be better. In the great waters that di- ; 
vide the two countries we have an equal 
interest ; but if we examine the statistics 
bearing on the subject— and it is necessary 
to do so in order to obtain an intelligent 
view of the whole matter— the figures will 
show that in the production of the fisheries, 
Canada has had a very unequal share. 
This is very apparent from an examination 
of the figures in relation to the different 
lakes. Take Lake Erie. The catch on both 
sides of Lake Erie in the years 1880, 1885, 
and 1889, which are years for which we 
can compare our figures with those furnish- 
ed by the United States census, are as fol- 
lows :— 

Canada. U.S. 

Lbs. Lbs. 

18S0 2,008,600 29,087,300 

188r. 7,654,727 51,456,517 

1889 9.625,754 63,557.332 

Totals 19.289,081 144.101,149 

The average catch in these three years was- 
In Canada, 6,429,694 pounds ; and in the 
I'nited States, 48.033,716 pounds ; or nearly 
eight times greater than the average catcH 
in Canada. Taking the average catch for 
these three years as a basis, the total eaten 
for the ten' years from 1880 to 1889, in- 
clusive, was as follows :— 


Canada 64.296.940 

United States 480,033.716 

Excess in favour of the United States 
for the ten years 415.736,776 

The excess in value, according to the values 

used by the Department of Marine and 
Fisheries, would be about $20,000,000. The 
Americans caught more fish in Lake Erie 
in ten years than Canada will catch in 
seventy years under this one-sided policy 
of the Government. And, Sir, in the pre- 
sence of such figures as these, which are 
taken from the blue-books, we have the 
hon. Minister of Justice making this state- 
ment in the House last year : 

All tL'is talk about the fishery sta tics of 
United Spates ports on Lake Erie is noti-ing but 
talk, because 1 have given evidence to show that 
fisheries in Lake Erie, where people have been 
allowed to fish ab libitum, unrestricted by Gov- 
ernment interference, are already a thing of the 
past ; and when the hon. gentleman reads these 
statistics, I will tell him how they are made, and 
I will give him good authority. These statistics 
are made up of Canadian fish. These fisheries 
have assumed enormous importance since the 
passage of the McKinley Bill, and with what re- 
sult ? The hon. gentleman has told us in part. 
He has told us that our fisheries are largely in 
the hands of the United States fish-dealers in 
Buffalo and elsewhere, owing largely to circum- 
stances over which we have had practically no 

Now, this is a remarkable statement The 
actual figures show that the excess in ten 
years is over 400,000,000 pounds, and the 
figures I gave the House on that occasion 
were figures existing before the passage 
and operation of the McKinley Bill ; and if 
we allowed every pound of fish to be enter- 
ed, as the hon. gentleman said some 
tons of fish were shipped to the United 
States and entered, it would have very 
slight effect upon the figures I Iiavc 
given. Our catch is only 7,000,000 cr 
8,000,000 pounds ; their catch is ')0.- 
000,000 pounds, and the hon. gentleman 
gets up in this House and coolly tells the 
I'arliiiment and people of Can-ida that the 
! statistics relating to the exports of fish 
are made up now by our fish entered under 
J the McKinley Bill. Why, the extravagance 
I of the statement of the hon. gentleman is 
I really surprising. It is difficult to under- 
stand how a Minister of the Crown can 
get up and mal^e such statements. 

But there is a more serious aspect still 
i in the statements of the blue-books of 
the country. Year after year we have 
found similar statements made with 
! reference to our fisheries, and made, no 
! doubt, under the authority of the Minister 
of ^larine and Fisheries. In the blue-books 
of this country, in the face of these figures 
which are actual, figures, an attempt is 
!i*ade to show that the contention that the 
! Americans are getting an advantage in re- 
I spect of the lake fisheries is simply a con- 
tention without basis. I notice in the blue- 
i books of 1890, 1891 and 1893 tlicse false 
: comparisons are made. I would like to ask 
! the hon. Minister how he can justify state- 
\ ments made up by comparisons such as the 
I fo^'owiug. He will put down American her- 
I rings at about 1 cent a pound and herringb 


caught upon the Cauadian side at 3 cents 
a pound. Canadian whitetish he enters at 
8 cents a pound, and American whitefish, 
which is cau;;ht in the same waters and is 
really worth more, because it is right in 
the market where the fish are sold, he de- 
liberately puts down at one-third of the 
value, and in this way statistics relative 
to our fisheries have been made up from 
year to year. That there may be no mis- 
representation in reference to this matter, 
I will just read what appears in the blue- 
books, and I find that similar statements 
have appeared in the different blue-books 
for three or four successive years. 

Catch of fish on hoth sides of the (ireat Lakes in 
:• the years ISHO, ISSo an.l 18S9. 






Canada 11,473,(XX> 

United States, ' 45,000,000 

1885. - I 

Canada ' 2"7,378,180 

L'nited States 70,423,728 



United States. . 





* According' to report of Department of Marine and 
Fisheries for 1891. 

I wish to du-ect the attention of the House 
to the manner iu which these statistics are 
made up. In 1880 the entire catch on the 
Cauadian side of the lakes was 11,473,000 
pounds of tish, the value of which, according 
to the Department of Marine and Fisheries, 
was $410,791. The entire catch on the Am- 
erican side of the lake was 45,600,000 pounds, 
and the value, according to the Department 
of Marine and Fisheries, was $984,500. In 
188u, the Canadian catch was 27,378,150 
pounds, valued at $1,268,551, and the United 
States catch was 76,423,728 pounds, 
valued at $1,813,078. In 1889, the Cana- 
dian catch was 29,198,359 pounds, valued 
at $1,816,462, and the United States 
catch was 91,076,624 pounds, valued at 
$1,827,214. Now, Sir, in 1880, 11,- 
000,000 pounds of Canadian fish was valued 
at about half as much as 45,000,000 pounds 
of the same kind of fish caught on the other 
side of the lake. In 1885, 27.000.000 pounds 
of Canadian fish was valued at two-thirds 
as much as 76,000,000 pounds of Ameri- 
can fish ; and in 1889. 29.000,000 pounds of 
Canadian fish were valued at nearly the 
same figures as 91,000.000 pounds of Ameri- 
can fish, or within $10,000 of the amount. 
These are extraordinary figures. I called 


the attention of hon. gentlemen to them at 
the last session of Parliament. The hon. 
gontleniau may make any sort of state- 
ment to the House. I suppose, but there 
is no way of preventing him doing 
that sort of thing, but here arc the 
blue-books of Canada cooke<^l for a special 
purpose, and designedly cooked, bxKrause 
these misrepresentations appear in one blue- 
book aftm* anotlier. I would like to know 
how the hon. gentleman will explain putting 
down herrings at 3 cents a pound, when they 
are valued iu the United States at 1 cent a 
pound, and whitefish at 8 cents, when the 
wholesale price in the market is $4. or not 
more than 4i/j cents ; trout at 10 cents, when 
the wholesale price is $4. Evidently the 
statistics bearing upon the fisheries question 
are made up in this waj' in order to make 
a favourable showing, and American fish 
are valued at one-third less than Canadian 

Now, I have alluded to the Lake Erie 
fisheries. Fully onohalf of this enormous 
business in the fisheries is carried, on almost 
opposite the county of Essex. But +he hon. 
gentleman alluded to that as a trifiing mat- 
ter and a mere bagatelle. He said : 

In order to put the matter in its strongest light, 
as I have said, the hon. gentleman dwelt upon a 
comparatively small strip of water, where a very 
few men have been engaged in the fishing busi- 
ness. The amount is a mere bagatelle. That is 
their strong point, and they bring that up as an 
evidence of the hardship of the case. I meet 
them by saying, that although the subject came 
up earlier in the session and we are now in June, 
yet I have to learn the name of one solitary in- 
dividual who has been ruined or injured by the 
enforcement of a necessary and wholesome regu- 

This is another of the hon. gentleman's very 
extravagant statements. He has yet to learn 
that one solitary person has been injured 
by the w'lolesome and necessary regula- 
tions. Well, the statement is somewhat in- 
volved. If the regulations were wholesome 
and necessary, perhaps no fishermen would 
be injured, but as a matter of fact every 
single regulation in connection with our 
fisheries has hampered and injured our fish- 
ermen. The lion, gentleman has reduced the 
.gill-ne«t. It will take about as many men to 
fish with the one pound-net as with ten 
pound-nets, yet his policy is only to 
allow one pound-net to our fishermen. 
The result is that they are handicapped and 
cannoi; fish to advantage. Four men cpa 
fish ten pound-nets. Here is one of the re- 
gulations by which the .fishermen are in- 
jured. Then again in reference to gill-nets. 
The department has reduced the allowance 
of gill-net to one boat to 6,000 jTirds. The 
hon. Minister must know that this regula- 
tion is violated. It is violated, I suppose, 
in 75 per cent of cases. The fishei-men do 
not pretend to live up to it. The allowance 
of gill-netting for tugs was cut dov/n to 12,- 
900 yards ; and, Sir, it Is well known that 
the tugs are using two or three tlmw that 

quantity. I suppose the hon. Minister knows 
that. Here, then, is a regulation that is being 
violated ajll over the lakes. Recently a 
challenge was issued to the department to 
deny this. I refer to an article published in 
the Toronto " News " on the subject of 
" Fishery Frauds," which I will read : 

Editor "News." — Having long been a supporter 
of the Conservative party, and occupying a some- 
what prominent position in the councils of the 
party, I feel it ray duty to warn the Fisheries 
Department that the carrying out of the present 
scheme to secure support for that party during 
the coming elections will compel all lovers of 
liberty, of whatever political persuasion, to unite 
in hurling from power a Government that seems 
determined to eradicate from this country the 
last, vestige of British liberty and fair-play, and 
reduce an iriportant class of our people to a posi- 
tion of political servitude unknown in any other 
portion of che British Empire. 

Now, Mr. Editor, I will lay before your readers 
as briefly as possible an outline of the scheme 
referred to, and challenge the Minister of Fish- 
eries to deny its correctness. Should he deny it, 
my object will be accomplished, as it will tend to 
show that the present programme will be aban- 
doned. According to the present law, all holders 
of gill-net licenses are allowed to use for sailing 
boats (i,000 yards of net, and for tugs 12,000 yard?. 
This amount is admitted by all parties to be ab- 
surdly small and insufflcient to pay running ex- 
penses, and yet the department has steadily re- 
fused to alter or amend, the law, though repeated- 
ly urged to do so. 

And for why ? Simply because they are de- 
termined to keep the fishermen at their mercy, 
subject to their dictation. Now. it is a fact that 
cannot be denied, that there is not a fisherman on i 
Lake Huron, or Georgian Bay, but what is using j 
mere than four times the amount of net allowed 
by law. Will the Fisheries Department dare 
deny this ? I presume not, dare they deny 
that lishery overseers and Conservative politicians 
have advised fishermen to ignore the law and use 
all the nets they please, urging them to show their 
gratitude in return in supporting the rule of the 
present Dominion Government. 

And so on. But what I wanted to show 
is that It is a matter of notoriety thart: 
considerably more no'.ting is used than 
is allowed by the regulations of the depart- 
ment. I have talked with many practical 
fishermen and they tell me that it is simply 
impossible to carry on their business with 
the amount of netting now allowed by the j 
department ; they would simply have to quit 
the gill-net fishing business if they are to be 
compelled to fish in that way. 

I have already referred to the injurious 
effects of the regulation respecting pound- 
nets. Kight opposite the county of Essex, 
where our men ai*e refused more than one 
net except in a few privileged cases, there 
are as many as 33 pound-nets in a sti'ing. 
This involves a great hardship. I brought 
one special case to the notice of the Minister 
myself, the Black case. A poor fisherman 
had prepared for a second pound-net upon 
some promise of the fishery overseer, and 
had gone to an expense, I think he said, of 
$300 or $400, which is a considerable amount 
few a fisherman — but afterwards was re- 

Speaker, is in 
A fee of .*»:.50 

fused the additional license. 1 visited 
the department several times, and re« 
presented this matter to the hon. Minister, 
and it was a long time before he would 
I grant the second pound-net even under these 
circumstances. It was only after affidavits 
had been produced to show that the promise 
had been made that the second pound-net 
was granted to this man Black, and that in 
the waters immediaitely opposite the county 
of Essex, there are as many as from 20 to 
33 nets in a string, that the application was 

The lake opposite, I may say, is complete- 
ly encompassed with nets. It is said there 
is as much as 700 miles of netting on the 
American side of Lake Erie, and this prac- 
tically in the same waters as our own, 
because if a fish is not caught on one 
side it will be caught on the other. And yet 
even under these circumstances, we find the 
Minister hesitating and haggling with this 
poor fisherman and throwing him out of 
nearly a summer's work before granting 
him a second pound-net. 

Another grievance, Mr 
reference to the licenses 
is charged for a single pound-net. Thirty- 
two men could fish 80 pound-nets, and on 
the present basis, thirty-two men would 
be paying more license fee than is paid 
by the 24,000 fishermen of Nova Scotia. 
I would not go so far as to say that we 
should do away with all license fees. I 
would not go so far as to take the fisheries 
entirely out of Government control, yet the 
present system of patrolling the lakes, cost- 
ing:, as it does, over $20,000 annually, is a 
veiy expensive system. 

Another favourite tlieory of the hon. gen- 
tlemen and his professors is that fish rem.'iin 
in Canadian waters, and that this policy of 
restriction is in the interest of Canadian fish- 
ermen and of the people of Canada. If that 
w;is so, if the fish was here for Canadians, 
there would be some justification for the 
policy. But I would ask the hon. gentleman, 
where this 800 million pounds of fish is to 
be found to equal the excess of the catch 
of American fishermen in the last 20 years. 
Why, Sir, if that theory was correct that 
Canadian fish remained in Canadian waters, 
ard that the 800 million pounds of fish re- 
nained here, the Canadian waters would 
teem with fish, would be fairly alive with 
fish, there would be no depletion of our 
fisheries. That is a complete answer to 
the statement and argument of the hon. 

Now. another point is in reference to the 
whitefishery. The hon. gentleman said in his 
speech : 

What was the staple fishery of Lake Erie only 
a few years ago ? It was the whitefish fishery. 
It was the whitefish that was turned over in the 
American market, it was the whitefish that 
brought gold to the fishermen on both sides of 
the lake. That is a superior fish, and a fish of 
grett value. But there Is no whitefish fishery on 
Lake Erie to-day. 

Ihat statemeDt is confirmed by the report 
of the Department of Marine and Fisheriof? 
for this year, containing a reiJort by the 
captain of the ' Petrel " that there is prac- 
tically no whitefish in Lake Erie to-day. 
I would like to ask the hon. gentleman 
where our whitefish have gone ? It is said 
that fthey breed in our waters, that they are 
to be found in greater quantities on the 
Canadian side, and yet we are told there is 
no tvhitefish in Lake Erie to-day. The hon. 
gentleman was oblivious of the fact that 
this was an answer to his own contention 
that Canadian fish remained in Canadian 
waters. I will tell him where the w^hite- 
flsh have gone. I will sliow by figures that 
the American people have been catching 
an excess in whitefish quite as great as 
that in the other fish. As will be seen by 
'the following table :— 

Quantity of whitefish caught on both sides of 
Lake Erie in the following years : — 

Canada. U.S. 

Lbs. Lbs. 

1880 205,600 3,333,800 

1885 186,080 3,531,855 

1889 306,213 3,323.772 

Totals 697,893 10,189,427 

These figure* show that the American 
catch on Lake Erie alone, in the single ar- 
ticle of whitefish, is about 13 times greater 
than that taken by our own fishermen. In 
10 years, from 1880 to 1889, taking the 
years mentioned as a basis of calculation, 
the figures would be : Canada, 2,326,310 
pounds ; United States, 30,631,420 pounds. 
Value : Canada, $189,104 ; United States, 
$2,450,530. If the Americans did not take 
another whitefish out of Lake Erie at the 
rate our fishermen have been permitted to 
operate, it would require 130 years' fishing 
on our part to catch up with the fishing on 
the other side of the Lake for the ten 
years 1880 to 1890. Now, T would like 
to ask where the whitefish are, if they do 
not cross the lake ? It is quite evident 
from these figures that the whitefish in 
Lake Erie have been caught by the Ame- 
rican fishermen, and that there has not 
been any overfishing on our side of the 
lake. The hon. gentleman, speaking of the 
fisheries on the other side, says : 

Ruin all round meets them and stares them in 
the face. I have the official evidence that their 
capital is moving west, tha^ six or seven hundred 
thousand dollars in cold cash had been lost in the 
fishery up to the last season, and that those re- 
maining in the business were endeavouring to 
save themselves from absolute ruin by moving 
on to Lake Superior, and even further west, to 
the Lake of the Woods. 

^vhy, Sir, there is no doubt that American 
fishermen are moving on to Lake Superior 
and the Lake of the Woods ; and if we go 
iiito the figures relating to those lakes, we 
will find, relatively, perhaps, not as great 
a difference, yet a very great difference in 
e\ery one of those lakes a^ against the 

Canadian catch. Now, Sir, as against this 
opinion of the depletion of the Lake Erie 
fisheries oa the other side, I will just read 
a short extract from the New York " Sun " : 

In none of the other great lakes do the condi- 
tions for fish seem to be so favourable as in Lake 
Erie. This is due in a great measure, fish cul- 
turists think, to the variations in the depth 
which are peculiar to that lake. The western 
end is shallow, and thus provides vast areas for 
spawning grounds. The deep water at the east- 
ern end is an almost boundless retreat for the 
half-grown young. The line between deep and 
shallow water seems to be drawn at Cleveland, 
for west of that city th-? water is not more than 
60 feet deep anywhere, and the average depth 
will, perhaps, fall b^low 40. 

Sir, we have only to turn up the reports 
bearing upon the fisheries of Lake Erie, to 
find that the fisheries, even on that side of 
the lake where this enormous fishing has 
been going on, are not in the frightful state 
depicted by the hon. gentlemen themselves. 
In 1893, an Amercian fisheries commission 
reported as follows on the condition of the 
Lake Erie fisheries :— 

Although ranking fourth in area, this lake con- 
tains a fishing industry of vast extent and of 
much greater importance than that of all the 
other lakes combined, omitting Lake Michigan, 
which it surpasses by 36 per cent in fishing popu- 
lation, 49 per cent in invested capital, 60 per cent 
in the quantity of fish taken, and 17 per cent in 
the value of the catch. Tha fisheries of Lake 
Erie are thought to be more important than 
those of any other body of fresh water in the 
world, and there are few, if any, lakes which 
have afforded such a history of prolificness of fish 
life in proportion to their size. To illustrate the 
relative productiveness of the American waters 
of this lake, it may be noticed that the average 
value of the catch per square mile of lake surface 
is only $200, while in no other lake of this system 
is the average more than |50, and in three of 
them is much less. 

Thel hon. gentleman says again : 

Our American neighbours, both official and un- 
official, have met to deplore the rapid depletion 
of this great fishery and the decadence of this 
great industry. They have met in both on their 
own side of the line and on this side to take coun- 
sel with their Canadian neighbours, having in 
view the great and to some extent the common 
interest. It is a notorious, and it is an exceed- 
ingly sad fact, that that is the condition of the 
Lake Erie fishery to-day. But there is more 
than this, Mr. Speaker, and it is to this point that 
1 call the particular attention, and upon this I 
ask for the support of the House. The policy 
that, in spite of many difficulties, difficulties that 
it would be impossib!^ for me to exaggerate, I 
have endeavoured to uphold, is that of insisting 
on a rigid observance of the regulations — which I 
believe to be ne-.cssary regulations — found in the 
Ofcnadian Orders in Council governing Canadian 
waters of that lake and region. While there has 
been a diminution in the fishery, while the fish 
have fallen off on our side, we have not yet 
reached anything like the condition of our neigh- 

Let us now see how the American people 
feel on this question, and whether they are 
alarmed to the extent stated by the Min- 


Ister of Marine and Fisheries ? We find a 
report from Lansing in the Evening 
♦• News," of 1895. as follows :— 

The hopes cC the state fish commission, and many 
others, who believe that the great lakes are being 
depleted of whiteflsh, that the present legislature 
would enact some protective laws, have gone 
glimmering. A Bill to make November a closed 
season was discussed for an hour and a half in 
committee of the whole yesterday afternoon, anil 
then killed. The chief argument against it was, 
that no other state bordering on the lakes has a 
closed season, and until they do make one It i? 
unfair to stop the business of Michigan fishermen 
at any season of the year. 

That is the position they talce in Michigan. 
They talje a similar position in the state 
of Ohio. These are the states tliat are al- 
most in proximity to our own border, and 
where tliere is not the slightest doubt that 
if fish are not caught on the one side they 
are caught on the other, I would ask the 
Minister, if he still holds the same view on 
this question, to send Professor Prince to 
the shore of the county of Essex, and he 
will find in large quantities, German carpe, 
a fish placed in American watei*s some years 
ago. 'J'his is a deep-water fish. They have 
been coming on the shores of Essex for the 
purpose of spawning, and so thick are they 
that people have come down to the lake at 
night, and- the press of the county has call- 
ed attention to the wholesale slaughter and 
destruction of these fish. This is positive 
proof that the fish go from one side to the 
othe/. Here is an additional proof, that 
our whitefish are caught by the Americans 
on the other side of the lake. The same re- 
mark applies to the depletion of our fish- 
eries if they are in the condition the Min- 
ister alleges, because, during the last thirty 
years, probably not less than 100,000,000 
pounds, approximately, of fish have been 
taken by the Americans out of Lake Erie 
more than have been caught by the Cana- 
dians. It would take the fishermen of 

Nova Scotia twelve years, that is, employ- 
ing the whole 24,000 fishermen of that pro- 
1 vince, to make up a quantity equal to that 
to which I have alluded as having been 
taken by the Americans out of Lake Erie 
during the last 30 years in excess of tlie 
Canadian catch. 

The hon. Minister mentioned that we took 
narrow ground, that we confine our argu- 
ments and remarks to the shore of Lake 
Erie. The effects of this policy can be seen 
almost everywhere. The American fisher- 
men are no doubt moving west to Lake 
; Superior and the Lake of the Woods. I 
venture to say that from Lake Champlain 
! to the Lake of the Woods, in all in- 
, temational waters, the Americans, throug)i 
I the stupid policy of our Government, are 
! securing a great advantage over the Cana- 
j dian fishermen. While oar people are pre- 
vented from fishing, or only allowed to fish 
; to a very limited extent, the Americans are 
i reaping vast profits from an enormous 
trade. The figures relating to Lake Superi- 
or will bear out this statement No doubt 
ill that great inland sea the regulations 
of the Fishery Department are less dam- 
aging, and probably far fewer fish cross 
the lake than in some of the other 
lakes to which I have referred, but, 
nevertheless, we find that the Ameri- 
can people on that lake are doing 
nearly all the business and are catch- 
ing the greater part of the fish. Taking 
the years 1880, 1885, 1889, as the basis of 
calculation of the catch and value of white- 
fish on both sides of Lake Superior for ten 
years, from 1880 to 1889, inclusive, I find 
the yearly average to be : Canada, 618,720 
lbs., value, $49,497 ; United States, 3,575,8^:5 
Ihs., value, $286,053 ; and for the ten years 
named, in whitefish alone on Lake Superior 
there was nearly thirty million pounds ex- 
cess, and in value, about $2,300,000 excess 
in actual figures for the years named are 
as follows :— 

Yield and Value of Whitefish caught on both sides of Lake Superior — 1880, 1885,^1889. 


United States. 


Total Value. 


United States. 








.S28,320 00 
48,492 00 
71,680 00 

§180,560 00 
365,755 (M) 
311,844 00 

Total for three years 



849,497 00 

8286,053 00 

On that V>asis, for ten years at the same piice per pound, as used by the Department of Marine 
and Fisheries, actual figures are: — Canada, 6,187,200 lbs.; United States, ,35,758,3.50 lbs. Total 
value : Canada, $494,970 ; United States, .^2,86(),53(». 

It would take fifty-seven years fishing at ! Lake Superior by the Americans in the ten 
the rate our men have been permitted to | years from 1880 to 1889, including 1889. 
fish to equal the catch of whitefish on , 

Troi't caught on Ijoth sides of Liilie Superior in the Years 1880-1885-1887. 


Average yearly catch of trout on Lake Sui)erior 
on both sides of the lakes 

Catch of trout in Lake Superior in ten years, 
1880 to 1889, inclusive 








L^nited States. 

Total Valuk. 


Lbs. i Rate. S 

1,4(;4.750 I0cts.| .Sl,280 

3,488,177 " i 91,157 

3,;^jr),724 " 1 102,050 












Catch of Whitefish and Trout on both sides of Lake Superior in ten Years, 1880 to 1889, inclusive, 
taking as a basis of calculation the average for Years 1880, 1885 and 1S89. 


United States. 

ToTAT. Value. 








Lbs. j Rate. 

35,758,,350 ' 8 cts. 
27,732,170 10 cts. 









Loss to Canadians in ten years 50,000,000 pounds whitefish and trout and over $4,00<),0(M). 

Using the figures furnished by the Depart- ' 
ment of Marine and Fisheries, there was in 
this one lake alone, a loss of $4,000,000 in 
ten years. According to that one-sicied 
fishery arrangement, it would take 48 years 
fishing on the Canadian side, to equal ten 
years fishing on the United States side of 
Lake Superior. Wherever you go, if you go 
further west to the Lake of the Woods, the 
American people are permitted to fish as the 
Minister says ad libitum. They ai*e catch- 
ing the fish while our Canadian people there 
and along the shores of the county of Essex, 
in the fishery" districts of Lake Erie, have 
been prevented from taking their fair share 
of fls-h. 

The hon. gentleman has stated tliat thei-e 
is no man from the Lake Erie district in 
this House who can rise in his place, and say 
that he really believes that the Lake Erie 
fisheries are now in as goc>d condition as 
they were on account of the onslaught made 
on them from year to year by the fisher- 
men on either side of the lake. I have 
given the figures which conclusively prove 

there has been no extraordinary onslaught. 
I would like the hon. gentleman when he 
makes a statement of that kind to support 
it by statistics. Why, Sir, if the proper 
figures could be got at, they would show 
that we should have no less than 100.(X)0,000 
pounds of fish on our side of the lake to 
equal the excess of American catch since 
1870, and it would take the entire catch of 
Nova Scotia ten or twelve years to make up 
the excess that the American fishermen have 
taken out of Lake Erie In the last thirty 

Hear, hear. 


Mr. ALLAN. The hon. gentleman says 
" hear, hear," but these are figures that he 
can get from the Canadian blue-books, and 
from the census returns of the United States. 

We have he^ird a good deal about some sort 
of reciprocal arrangement for a great many 
years. The hon. gentleman told us that it 
was the policy of the Government in 1870, 
twenty-five years ago, and that it was also 


the policy of Mr. Mackenzie's Government. 
There might be some justification for a 
Grovernment in power 20 or 25 years ago 
to try and preserve our fisheries by making 
certain regulations— altliough I believe the 
regulations we have in force are entirely 
too severe— and to keep these regulations in 
force expecting to make some arrangement 
with the American people. But every year 
this Government has utterly failed to do 
that, and the American people believe that 
the policy pursued by the Canadian Govern- 
ment is an erron<'Ous and expensive policy. 
So long ago as 21st March, 1873. T find the 
following in the American Commissioner's 
Report :— 

The Canadian laws are sweeping and stringent 
in character. By exacting license fees from the 
fishermen, they control the extent of fishing In 
all localities, and limit the number of nets to each 
mile of the shore in accordance with the judg- 
ment of the fishery officers. Their system of 
lawu and policing the whole extent of shores is 
an expensive and cumbersome method of protect- 
ing the fishes, amd it is altogether probable that 
the large amount of money, |20,195 in the year 
1871, used for this purpose, would increase the 
products of their fisheries adapted to artificial 

Again : 

Prohibiting fishing at certain seasons of the 
year has been an ordinary method of legislation 
in protecting the fish, and has proved to be of 
great advantage in streams aid inland waters. 
The great lakes, in the particular of fishing, as- 
sume very much the character of the sea, and the 
same class of legislation, benefiting streams and 
inland waters, is not required for them. 

The ivmerican people are pursuing their 
own policy from year to year and they 
refuse to enter Into reciprocal regulation 
arrangements with Canada in reference to 
the lake fisheries. Every year they have 
been prosecuting the fisheries without limit, 
and in Lake Erie catching eight fish to our 
one. Notwithstanding what the Minister 
says the catch is still maintained. 

The hon. gentleman talks about failui-es, 
but I have never heard of them. I knew 
of the failure of a large fishing firm in the 
section of the country of which he spoke, 
but it was owing to their connection with 
the building of a large summer hotel at 
Put-In-Bay Island. The examination of the 
United States census returns relating to the 
profits Oif the American fishermen is a com- 
plete answer to the hon. gentleman's state- 
ment. It is shown there that the American 
fishermen are all making money, and that it 
Las been a prosperous business. It is no 
argument to say that these fishermen are 
over crowded in Lake Erie. They have 700 
miles of netting as the New York " Sun " 
recently stated, on the American side of 
Lake Erie, while on our side in the county 
of Essex, our fishermen there with equal 
advantages and equal facilities could catch 
the same quantity of fish, have only about 
sixty pound-nets. 

We catcli in the neighbourhood of .$100,- 
000 worth of fish annually, according to 
tlie values given by the Department of 
Marine and Fisheries, while on the American 
side the fishermen catch the enormous 
amount of $2,000,000 worth. Right opposite 
the county o^ Essex, the city of Sandusky, 
which is the largest fresh water fish market 
in the world, is carrying on an enormous 
business. This has been going on not merely 
for twenty or thirty years, but has been 
carried on since 1855, which was about the 
time pound-nets were introduced. This 
trade was then commenced on a pretty ex- 
tensive scale, and has been carried on by 
the Americans from year to year until *hey 
have so much fishing apparatus that it would 
probably be imiwssible for them to extend 
their business, while we on our side of the 
lake have been looking quietly on. 

Now, Sir, the hon. gentleman has been very 
much disturbed at times about the attacks 
that have been made by the fishermen and 
by the people of the country upon the policy 
of the department, and he has sent his pro- 
fessors to the Detroit River and to the west- 
ern end of Lake Erie to make special re- 
ports upon this subject, A year ago. Pro- 
fessor Prince, who had arrived in this coun- 
try, I believe, in April, visited the Detroit 
River, and when he returned to Ottawa 
he wrote a special report justifying the posi- 
tion the department had taken. Speaking 
of close seasons. Professor Prince says : 

That the enforcement of close seasons and 
other protective regulations for whitefish on the 
Canadian side of the great lakes and border 
waters should have caused some discontent 
amongst Canaaian fishermen is not surprising. 
When the dividing waters are so narrow as in 
the Detroit River, St. Clair Lake and river, such 
dissatisfaction is accentuated. The United States 
fishermen carry on their operations under no re- 
strictions, and at all available seasons. To our 
own fishermen, under whose eyes the American 
fishermen pursue the industry, the rigid enforce- 
ment or a close season and other regulations is 
peculiarly irritating. But any supposed advan- 
tages enjoyed by the United States fishermen are 
found, on strict inquiry, to be baseless, and on 
the other hand, the alleged grievances on the 
Canadian side in these waters have no better 
ground. As a matter of fact, the United States 
policy has proved most injurious to their own 
fishermen's interests and is wholly and emphati- 
cally disapproved by the leading men engaged in 
the fishing industry in Detroit and other import- 
ant centres. 

Detroit, it may be mentioned, has one of the 
greatest fish-markets on the continent, and the 
view that prevails there is entirely in favour of 
the Canadian policy. It is not the case that the 
absence of restrictions on the American side has 
been detrimental to our fishermen, or that United 
States fishermen are reaping benefits of which 
Canadian fishermen are deprived. Careful in- 
quiries on the spot have abundantly shown that. 

Any alteration in the existing close season 
would indeed be an injury to the Canadian fisher- 
men and would bring serious results, leading 
rapidly to the total destruction of the whitefish 

This is demonstrated by the following facts : — 


The Canadian side is. and always has been, the 
chief resort for the whitefish. The great flah- 
marltets of Detroit and elsewhere look to the 
Canadian side for their main supplies of white- 
fish, which breed and are hatched and reared in 
our waters. 

And yet the hon. Minister, in the face of 
this important statement, and after limit- 
ing the operations of Canadian fishermen 
in the way he has done, now tells this 
House and the country that the whitefish- 
eries of Lake Erie are a thing of the past, 
This gentleman continues : 

The November schools of whitefish, which pass 
up the Canadian side, are all spawners, just about 
to deposit theii' eggs. It is of the highest im- 
portance to protect them just at that time — a time 
which the present close season covers. 

Parent fish in rivers and lacustrine waters, 
when ascending to the spawning grounds, always 
take the most direct course, and are not easily 
turned aside, as experienced fishermen are well 
aware. No more erroneous Idea could be enter- 
tained than the supposition that whitefish wan- 
der aimlessly hither and thither from one side of 
a river or lake to the other. In these waters, as 
in other waters, it is certainly not the case that 
the schools of breeding fish deviate from their 
UEiual course, and cross from side to side so that 
fish caught by American fishermen during our 
close season would be caught by Canadians were 
they permitted to fish at thnt time. 

Not only has our side been the chief resort for 
the spawners, but the pollutions of Detroit city 
and numerous factories on the American side, as 
well ' as sewage and other deleterious matters, 
have tended to drive the whitefish to the purer 
waters on the Canadian side, and thus Increased 
the school of spawners in our own waters. 

The numberless nets, traps and pounds set in 
American waters and extending far from shore, 
intercept the migrating fish, break up the spawn- 
ing schools, and drive them to our side. Oar 
close season affords them freedom from these 
disturbances, and encourages them to come to our 

Here we have the statement that Canadian 
fish will remain in Oanaidian waters, while 
American fish will cross over to Canadian 
waters. Prof. Prince goes on : 

Perhaps the best testimony to the wisdom and 
utility of the department's regulations Is fur- 
nished by the attempts to establish In the state 
of Michigan similar close seasons. Were the 
present policy on the opposite shores so highly 
satisfactory as many Canadian fishermen at times 
imagine, such attempts would never be made. So 
beneficial to all interested has the Canadian policy 
proved to be, in the opinion of many leading men 
in the state of Michigan, that, in order to save 
their fisheries from destruction in these waters, 
earnest efforts have been, and, no doubt, will be 
made again to Imitate our restrictions and regu- 
lations and enforce them on the United States 
side. Were such uniform regulations enacted 
and enforced, the alleged grievances of Canadian 
fishermen would disappear, the planting and arti- 
ficial propagation of whitefish on both sides would 
have fair-play, and the future welfare of these 
fisheries in these waters would be assured. 

Here is Prof. Prince, a gentleman who had 
only recently arrived in this country, and 
who perhaps had never seen a whitefish 
before, alleging that the whitefish naturally 

resort to the Canadian side ; but, in view of 
the confession of the hon. gentleman and 
the reports we have that our whitefish are 
absolutely ^rone, tliat Canadians have been 
prevented from taking their fair Sihare, this 
is in my opinion a sweeping condemnation 
of the policy that has been pursued. 

I would like to knov; on what ground such 
a policy can bo justified unless for the goo<l 
of Canada. If the hon. gentleman could 
show that his iwliey had develoi)ed the 
fisheries and that the fish were in Canadian 
waters for Canadians, although I believe 
his policy is severe in many respects, that 
would l>o almost a complete answer to the 
complaint that has been made against the 
Government policy. The hon. gentleman 
sent up another professor, or rather 
commander, who made a report in re- 
ference to the fish in the Detroit River. 
" Catch of whitefish and salmon-trout on 
the Detroit River by Pi-of. Wakeham." and 
the beauty of this thing is that not 50 trout 
have been caught in the Detroit River for 
the past 50 years. Yet one of these profes- 
sors, a man with scientific knowledge, a 
man who understands the movements of the 
fish and all about them, goes to the Detroit 
River under the instructions of the hon. 
Minister and writes a report, no doubt, with 
the viow of supporting his peculiar views 
and policy, giving an essay on trout in the 
Detroit River wben no trout can be found 
there : 

Whitefish and trout do not remain long on the 
spawning grounds ; they come in slowly, but di- 
rectly they have spawned they return to deeper 
water. It is not the case that what are called 
Canadian fish are taken to any great extent in 
United States waters. A few may str«,ggle from 
the schools, but the gr^at mass of fish that spawn 
in our waters never get within reach of seines or 
pounds fished on the other side. 

Here is anoither certificate from another 
professor who i^rof esses to understand the 
movements of the fish and to have great 
knowledge of the subject. He says that the 
Canadian fish do not cross from side to 
side. Then I would like the hon. Minister 
to explain where the 800,000,000 pounds; of 
fish, which is the excess caught by the 
Americans in the last 20 years on I^ake 
Erie have gone. It seems to me they must 
have gone somewhere or other. If the 
fish do not cross from side to side, the 
Canadian fish must be on the Canadian 
side, and we should have an increase. In 
fact the fish should be so thick in Lake 
Erie that they would almost be in the way 
of the vessels. I believe, however, that the 
fish have gone into the A7~-'»rican nets and 
market. Take the statistic * 'by the 
Department of Marine ana ^ and 

you will find that the loss to Cana a, in ten 
years is $20,000,000 on Lake Btie alone. 
Yet the hon. gentleman will get up and 
say the statement that our fishermen are 
idle is an e^ravagant one. Why, the very 
fact that in the county of Essex, including 


Pelee Island, there are only some 00 pound- 
nets on one side and on the other side 
of the lake about 2,CX)0 pound-nets, over one- 
half of which is almost immediately oppo- 
site, shows tliat our people are comparatively i 
idle and have not been permitted to parti- 
cipate in the advantage of the vast and ; 
profitable trade which has been carried on ' 
many years by the American people. j 

Now, this is an important question, i 
If hon. gentlemen would look into , 
the figures in connection with our fish- 1 
eries I am satisfied— although, of course, i 
we cannot get back what we have ' 
lost— that this stringent and ruinous : 
policy would not be continued. The same i 
thing will happen in Lake Superior which j 
has happened in Lake Erie, if this policy j 
prevails. The Americans will go and fish | 
out Lake Superior. I ask what argument : 
there can be for a policy of this kind, unless : 
it can be shown that it develops the fisheries ' 
on the Canadian side. The very statements ; 
of the hon. gentleman, in the speech which ! 
he distributed among the fishermen of the I 
w^est, answer themselver The fish are not i 
there. He admits that ; but he talks of ! 
great onslaughts on the fisheries ! There \ 
have been no such onslaughts. The fish 
have been taken by the American fishermen i 
because the Departmeftit of Marine and ! 
Fisheries have prevented our fishermen 1 
from using the amount of netting and the I 
amount of pound-nets which they could use i 
to advantage. There is just one other mat- \ 
ter to which I wish to refer before con- : 
eluding. I allude to the state of disorgani- j 
zation that existed in the fishery district i 
of Essex and Kent, comprising about half of j 
Lake Erie. I read some papers in C3nnec- ' 
lion with this matter last session, in a ! 
hurried manner, because it was six o'clock, i 
The hon. Minister said he had not gone j 
fully into the subject ; he had not made an | 
exhaustive review, but that my statements 
were meagre and all that sort of thing. \ 
There is nothing very profound about this j 
subject, nothing that requires, as the hon. i 
gentleman intimates, scientific knowledge, i 
The fact simply is that the American peo- ' 
pie have been getting, through the conni- ! 
vauce and sanction of the department, an \ 
immense advantage over our Canadian j 
people. The statistics prove that ; and j 
when the hon. gentleman talks about people i 
requiring scientific knowledge in order to ■ 
discuss this policy, and the presumption of ! 
people who have not looked into the ! 
authorities and relying on a little hoi'se sense ' 
doing so, it is enough to make the angels i 
weej). Th hon, gentleman alluded to papers j 
that were brought down in relation to the j 
dismissal of Mr. Prosser, and he said in 
reference to that matter : 

1 greatly regret, owing to the importance of the 
subject, and notwithstanding the time at which ! 
it has been brought to the attention of the House, i 
that it wil) be necessary for me to ask the indul- \ 
gence of the House for some time while I refer i 

to the points that have been raised hy the hon. 
member for South Essex (Mr. Allen), and par- 
ticularly to the question upon which he only 
briefly touched. I know that it is contrary to 
the rules of the House, and very properly so, to 
impute motives to hon. gentlemen who ask ttie 
attention of this body to any public question ; 
but I was considerably surprised, knowing, as I 
have reason to know, the very great important;e 
of the preservation of the fisheries of the great 
lakes of this court'-y, to observe this afternoon 
the extravagant language which that hon. gentle- 
man indulged in, accompanied, as it was, by the 
most superficial statements that could possibly be 
made on such a question. Time and again I 
heard the hon. gentleman, when speaking of the 
policy that I am carrying out, refer to it as, " a 
policy of oppression and tyranny " ; he spoke of 
" great ouc^ages " ; he stated that our Canadian 
fishermen on those lakes were practically idle to- 
day ; and declared that there was no explanation 
or defence in reply to an attack of great moment, 
which, apparently, had already been made this 
session, and which the hon. gentleman deemed it 
necessary on his part to follow up with his fiisi- 
lade of this afternoon. These were extraordin- 
ary expressions, Mr. Speaker, and expressions 
v/hich, if they had really a true support, would 
have excited a great deal more attention than 
the hon. gentleman was able to command on 
either side of the House, which would have at- 
ti acted a great deal of attention this evening, and 
would have demanded the most serious consider- 
ation that we could give to them. But, instead 
of the hon. gentleman supporting those statements 
by argunicnts, or by an exhaustive review of 
what the policy of the department really was, I 
discovered a little later on in his remarks that • 
his real object was to attack, not a policy, but a 
man ; not to criticise a minister of the depart- 
ment or the Government of the day, but to at- 
tack, in what I consider a most unfair manner, a 
Mr. Prosser, who, apparently, lives in the district 
from which the hon. member for South Essex 
comes ; and, although I have no knowledge of 
Mr. Prosser, apart from the fact that he was once 
an officer of my department and was dismissed, 
and that some years ago, yet, from what the hou. 
gentleman said, I have no doubt whatever that 
he is, whether rightly or wrongly, a strong man 
iu that district, and a man who is politically op- / 
posed to the hon. gentleman. I can conceive of no 
other reason why the hon. gentleman should have 
spent the greater part of his time in driving 
I'ome and repeating again and again the charges 
against this man, which were investigated as far 
back as 1891, and which brought about his ulti- 
mate dismissal. What does the hon, gentleman 
want to do with Mr, Prosser ? Why does he 
drag him up before this House in this year of 
Our Lord 1894, and insist at a rather late period 
of the session in pounding him in the fashion he 
did ? 

It seems to me that I brought important 
papers before the House relating to the 
management of the Fisheries Department, 
It happened that Mr. Prosser was the 
fishery overseer in that district and was dis- 
missed, and the hon. gentleman tried in 
this way to draw a line across the scent. 
He hoped by talking about Mr. Prosser to 
escape any 'other responsibility for this 
whole affair. Why, the return brought 
do\vn was simply a disgraceful exhibition 
of the way the business of the Fish- 
eries Department has been carried on 


in tliat section for years. You tal^e 
tliese two districts from Rondeau, west- 
ward, tliey comprise by far, the most 
important tisheries on the lake. And yet, 
for many years, a state of lawlessness and 
disorganization existed, which was simply 
a disgrace to the Fisher>' Department, and 
to the Government of Canada. The hon. 
gentleman may think that he can escape 
on the ground that he did not know that 
these things existed. It seems a queer idea 
of ministerial responsibility to think that 
the hon. Minister can escape in that way. 
Why, Sir, although I have shown that the 
fisheries are practically in the hands of 
Americans from over-fishing on their side 
of the lal^es, yet, on our own side of the 
lalvc, comprising half of Dake Erie, the 
l)etter half of it as regards the ex- 
tent of the catch, the fishing was prac- 
tically in the hands of one American firm. 
Post & Co., of Sandusky, and our fisher- 
men were for years mere serfs of these 
men, they dare not sell their fish except to 
Post & Co., a license could not be given 
except with the permission of Post & Co., 
of Sandusky. Though our fishermen were 
acting under the most rigid rules and re- 
gulations, a state of disorganization exist- 
ed, which the Minister of Marine is, to a 
very great extent responsible. T will just 
read part of the report of the special offic- 
er sent to investigate the state of affairs 
in this district. Mr. Kerr says : 

I experienced a great many difficulties in fa- 
thomiiig the above irregularities. 

That is people fishing without a license, 
licenses being given to dead men, that kind 
of irregularities. 

— All sorts of obstacles were thrown in my way, 
especially from such of the fishermen as were un- 
der Post & Co.'s control. This made it sometimes 
utterly impossible for me to get accurate, or even 
reliable, information in a great many cases, and I 
must come, therefore, to the conclusion, that 
either Post & Co. own and control the whole fish- 
ery from Rondeau westward, or else that over- 
seers McMichael and Prosser are in their favour, 
doing their bidding in every respect, instead of 
taking the interests of the department, whose 
paid servants they are. In addition to a most 
berious charge of mismanagement in recommend- 
ing for licenses parties who do not exist, thereby 
helping to place the pound-net fisheries of Lake 
Erie in the hands of Yankee firms, I am also 
credibly informed that Mr. Prosser has been in 
the habit of granting permits for extra nets dur- 
ing the fall of the year, especially to such of the 
fishermen who dispose of their fish to Post & Co. 

And again : 

I also found many fishermen afraid to give lue 
the necessary information that I was seeking, on 
accounts of threats, &c., made by Prosser and 
Post of taking away their licenses, &c. One old 
gentleman remarked, after I had taken his sworn 
statement, that, if Prosser knew it, it would 
settle his license for this year. There is no doubt 
this lawless sort of work has been carried on for 
years. If a fisherman makes a kick as to the 
price of his fish, &e., the next year his outside 
pound is taken away from him. This particu- 

larly has caused much trouble, you can readily 
perceive — some enjoying the privilege of fishing 
double-headers, while other's applications are not 
> entertained at all by oversoer Prosser, who con- 
tended lo some that the thing was not allowed. 

Now, Sir, the hon. gentleman wanted to 
know why I brought up these papers whicb 
relate to 1891. These papers were only 
brought down to the House in 1893. And 
the hon. gentleman was not present during 
! that session, and I did not have the oppor- 
' tunity therefore of bringing tlie matter to 
his attention. I brought the subject up at 
the earliest possible moment, and I say it as 
a most singular thing that the Minister of 
', the Crown can escape all responsibility for 
the disorder that existed for years in re- 
lation to one of our most important lake 
fisheries. What sort of system can obtain 
; in a Department of Marine and Fisheries, 
i I should like to know, that it is possible 
I for one American firm to control the fish- 
; eries of half Lake Erie for many years, as 
I shown by the report of the hon. gentleman's 
' own special officer. Prosser has been dis- 
j missed, the hon. gentleman says ; and he 
j thinks that that relieves him of responsibil- 
I ity. Why, Sir. here is a scandal whicli, 
I while, of course, not in the line of the Cur- 
: ran bridge, yet involves a loss to this coua- 
i try quite as great as that involved in the 
I Curran bridge— our fisheries practically 
i handed over to one American firm for years; 
j our fishermen not allowed to sell their fish 
i to any one but Post & Co., except in the case 
; of one or two who positively refused. It 
j shows that the Department of Marine and 
I Fisheries under the hon. gentleman was not 
j the model department tliat he woidd have 
j the people of this country believe. It seems 
I almost impossible that, imder a well-re- 
I gulated department such a state of affairs 
; could exist, and be continued year after 
; year. 

i We had hoped, Mr. Speaker, that some 
i chinga foL' the better would take place 
in reference to the fisheries of the county 
of Essex. It was heralded by the local 
press, particularly by the Conservative 
press, of that county that there was to be 
an important change of policy, that oiu 
! people were no longer to be deprive<l of the 
i right to fish in the Detroit River, and these 
other narrow waters, they were not to be 
compelled to remain idle, while their Am- 
erican neighbours were gathering the fish, 
but that the same freedom in fishing would 
be allowed on our side as w^as allowed on 
the American side. Well, Sir, what change 
has taken place ? In these narrow waters, 
the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair, Cana- 
dians are allowed to fish on paj'ing $.W 
license fee— on the other side it is, entirely 
free— and, in November, the only month 
w-hen it is possible to catch whiteSsh, they 
are prevented from fishing, while within 
a stone's throw, the Americans are gather- 
ing in the fish. I was In hopes that there 
would be a change In the policy of the de- 
partment, but the hon. gentleman seems to 


think that it is for the good of Canada 
that the old policy should remain in force. 
In order to show that, he must prove that 
the fish remain in Canadian waters, and 
remain there to be talcen by Canadian 
and not American fishermen. If he 
cannot do that, it is quite evident 
that liis policy has been a failure, and that 
there has been a very serious loss to the 
people of this country, a loss to Lake Erie 
alone, according to the figures of the hon. 
gentleman, in twenty years, of about $40,- 
000,000, the excess of the American catch 
would be that much in value greater than 
the Canadian catch. That is the point, 
whether Canadian fish is here for the Cana- 
dians, or whether they have been caught 
by the Americans. There is no profound 
knowledge required in this matter. If the 
fish are not here, it is quite evident that 
•his policy is a failure. 

I think it is dno to this House and to this 
country that the hon. gentleman should give 
a little better explanation than he gave in 
his speech last year, and more reliable, leav- 
ing out such statements that these were 
really very little ; no difference in the 
catch in Lake Erie, that the figures 
were all talk, when the actual figures, 
as compiled from the blue-books of 
Canada, show that in the short period 
of tw(Mity years. tl)oro is a difference of 
over 400 million pounds in that Lake alone. 
If we go on and extend our inquiry, we shall 
find u very great difference also in Lake 
Superior. In the Lake of the Woods the 
same policy is being pursued, prevent- 
ing Canadians from taking their share, and 
throwing the trade into the hands of 
the American people. Now, I think it is 
about time that lion, members should look 
into this matter, and that the people who 
are behind the Minister should compel a 
change of policy. It is about time that the 
reign of common sense should be ushered 
in. The idea of handing this enormous 
trade over to the American people, and year 
by year talking about some arrangement by 
which the fisheries can be preserved, while 
the American people continue catching as 
many fish as they possibly can, with all 
the appliances of nets and boats that they 
bring into service. This is an important 
matter, ?t is not a fisli-hook and line busi- 
ness. Hoii. members from the maritime 
provinces must understand that this is no 
ordinary matter. If they compare the quan- 
tity of fish caught in Lake Erie alone, with 
the catch of New Brunswick, they will find 
that the catch of the Canadian and American 
side of Lake Erie is greater than that of 
New Brunswick, and it is not very much 
behind that of Nova Scotia. Yet the Minis- 
ter and tlie Government have thought that it 
is a wise policy to stand and look calmly 
on and prevent our people from fishing, and 
see the Americans enjoy this vast trade, a 
trade of G3.(XK).000 pounds. Sandusky is the 
greatest fish market in the world, handling 

twenty million pounds of fish annually. I 
have not been guilty of using extravagant 
statements, as charged by the hon. gentle- 
man ; I have no desire to infringe upon his 
domain in that respect. I am sure that his 
statements, attributing to the McKinley Bill 
the results of the figures which have been 
presented, I have shown to be extravagant. 
As a matter of fact, the catch on the 
Canadian side is only seven or eight million 
pounds, and he can put that on, and it 
makes very little difference. Yet he will get 
up in this House and state that this differ- 
ence is made up by the operation of the 
McKinley Bill, when I have shown that the 
figures were made up before the McKinley 
Bill came into operation. I think the hon. 
gentleman propounded a question in his 
speech that I have forgotten to notice. He 
evidently thinks it is a clincher, and is an 
answer to the whole attack that has been 
made upon his department : 

I would ask the hon. gentleman, how he will 
explain this to me, that, while the United States 
are spending millions to our thousands in fish 
culture, yet it was my experience to find a -re- 
quest from the hatchery at Detroit, on the United 
States side of that narrow sheet of water, for 
permission to come into Canadian waters, in sight 
of the so-called United States fishermen. cO obtain 
the necessary quota of eggs for their hatchery, 
stating that they could not obtain thtim on the 
United States side ? The reason is clear, and it 
is consistent with all the reports that I have 
bfen able to find— that our side of Lake Erie and 
our side of that river are peculiar. 

Now, that is a great question. He wants to 
know why it was that Americans ask for 
permission to fish upon the Canadian side 
of the Detroit River, and if he establishes 
that there are a few more fish on the Cana- 
dian side of the river, he thinks his whole 
argument is established. Now, Professor 
Prince, in his report, ^ 3aks of this very 
subject, and says that it is owing to the 
pollutions of the Detroit side, and I find 
that confirmed in the American report : 

In earlier years there was a great abundance of 

whitefish in this river, and the annual yield was 

very large." Mr. James Craig, of Detroit, who 

has for many years engaged in the fish business 

of that city, informs us that near Fort Wayne, 

within the city limits of Detroit, the average 

catch of whitefish in haul-seines was from 18,000 

to 21,000 fish, weighing on an average from 2% 

to 2% pounds. On 12th November, 1871, at one 

, haul of a seine, 3,100 whitefish were caught. With 

I the growth of the city and the increase of the 

: amount of sewage entering the river, the flsher- 

I ies have declined to their present condition. The 

number of whitefish taken in the vicinity of Fort 

I Wayne in 18^0 was only 3.000, and the output of 

< the entire river was only 35,000 pounds. 

I That is tlie answer to that statement. But 
I liere the hon. gentleman makes another, 
which shows that after all he does not under- 
stand every thing in connection with his own 
department. The hon. gentleman says : 
" The great fish market for Detroit, 
especially in regard to whitefish, is 
In our waters." The hon. gentleman 


stated that requests were made by 
American hatcheries on Lake Superior 
for eggs, and he wanted to know how it 
occurred that if their fisheries were not 
depleted they came to the Canadian side 
for their fish eggs. In the waters of Lake 
Superior it is not possible to keep fish in 
pens, which would necessarily be broken 
up, as can be done at Sandwich, and that 
is the reason and the only reason why they 
come and make requisition on our depart- 
HK.'nt for fish eggs. There is no scarcity of 
, fish eggs in the United States. Here is a 
statement bearing on this subject : 

Put-Iu-Bay, 15th May.— The hatch at the fisli 
hatchery at this place beats the world's record in 
the number of eggs taken in one season at one 
station. During the year which wiil end with 
June, there have been talcen at this station 115,- 
000,000 whiteflsh eggs, 11,000,000 ciscoes, or lake 
herring ; 404,000,000 pike-perch, or wall-eyed 
pike, besides lake trout, grass pike, yellow perch 
and other varieties. Besides the eggs and fry 
shipped away, 30,400,000 whiteflsh, IJ, 000,000 cis- 
coes and 200,000,000 nike-perch fry have been 
turned into the waters of Lake Erie. 

There is no scarcity of fish eggs on the 
other side, as the hon. gentleman imagines. 
They have enormous quantities of them, 
and instead of the fisheries being depleted, 
as the hon. Minister endeavoured to show 
from extracts he read, I can read other 
extracts to show the reverse, and that in 
some sections of the American waters there 
lias been a great increase in the fisheries 
generally, and ia the whiteflsh particularly. 
I read from the commissioners' report of the 
United States Commission of Fish and 
Fisheries for 1892, as follows :— 

Whiteflsh is the second important flsh in Lake 
Huron. It is especially prominent in the pound- 
net fishery of that part of the lake north of Sagi- 
naw Bay and in the gill-net fishery from Alpena. 
The average weight of the whitefish ib about 2 

Everywhere in this lake the effects of whiteflsh 
propagation are manifested and appreciated by 
the fishermen and fish-dealers. While the out- 
put in the year covered by this inquiry was some- 
what less than In 1885, the increase in the past 
few years has been marked. A prominent feature 
of the fishery for this fish was the unprecedented- 
ly large run in many places of small fish of a 
size that had not been observed in abundance for 
many years. 

Again : 

Along the shore, between St. Ignaf^r and De- 
tour, an increase in the abundance of whitefish, 
as compared with a number of precceding years, 
was reported, the increase being especially 
marked in Les Cheueaux and Pretence Bay. Trout 
and some other fish appear to be diminishing in 
number. One reason assigned by Mr. Isaac Gou- 
dreau. Mr. Charles Goudreau and other promin- 
ent fishermen for the increase of whitefish in the 
inshore waters and among the islands Is, tliat 
the fish have been driven from their regular re- 
sorts in the lake by the large accumulations on 
the favourite grounds of saw-dust and other re- 
fuse from a mill at St. Ignace. 

The principal fishermen of this section think 
there will be no difficulty in keeping up the sup- 

ply of whiteflsh, If liberal consfguments of fry 

are planted annually, and the size of the mesh In 

; the cribs of the pound-net is regulated so as to 

permit the escape of Immature flsh. In the vIcIti- 

ity of St. Ignace, the fishermen want also a law 

to prohibit the pollution of the lake, either by 

' saw-dust or other refuse, and some favour a close 

season on all kinds of fishing after 1st November 

for a period of years, in order to give trout and 

I other fish whose abundance has decreased, a bet- 

; ter opportunity to multiply. 

In the fisheries of the southern siv^e of the 
Strait of Mackinac, and the adjacent western 
shore of Lake Huron, whiteflsh constitute fully 
j nine-tenths of the catch, the remaining species 
j consisting of trout, pike, perch, herring and stur- 
j geon. During the last two years the number of 
whiteflsh in the flsheries could be carried to Mac- 
1 kinac city have been steadily Increasing. 
I The only dealer at Mackinac city who has 
\ bought and handled flsh caught in that vicinity 
I during the past six years, says that it has been 
; no uncommon thing in the last two years to take 
i 2,500 pounds of whiteflsh from one small pound- 
! net in one night's fishing, while In previous 
j years, if half that quantity was taken under simi- 
i lar circumstances, it was considered a big catch ; 
j he is satisfied that the fish now being caught 
j were planted in that vicinity by the United States 

and Michigan Fish Commission. 
I In the vicinity of Cheboygan while a great 
many trout are caught, whitefish is the principal 
specie. Every fisherman in this region has com- 
mented on the very large increase in the number 
of whitefish caught during the past two years. 
Mr. Mayaard Corbitt, of the fishing firm of Cor- 
bitt & Duffy, stated that he had fished in that 
vicinity for twenty-five years, and up to two or 
three years ago the whitefish were becoming 
scarcer each season, but during the past three 
years they have undergone a marked increase in 

I could read many other extracts. It is very 
easy for the hon. Minister to read sta'-e- 
ments regarding the depletion of fishe ies 
in certain sections ; I could read about he 
depletion in other sections. That is not the 
question. The question is simply this : has 
the policy of the department in preventing 
our people from taking a reasonable share 
of fish in Lake Erie, in preventing them 
prosecuting the fishery industry in that and 
other lakes, been a good policy ? I say 
the only answer that can be given to the 
question is to show that the Canadian 
fisheries have increase<l, and that we in 
Canada have a quantity equal to the great 
excess caught by the American fishermen. 
I regret that I have been compelled to de- 
tain the House so long, but this is a ques- 
tion of very great importance, one involv- 
ing a very large sum of money, one that 
gives employment to a vast number of 
American people, and if a proper policy had 
been pursued in Canada our fisheries would 
have contributed very largely to increasing 
the wealth o^ the province of Ontario. 

Mr. McGregor. I do not Intend to take 
up the time of the House very long in speak- 
ing on this subject. The hon. member for 
South Essex (Mr. Allan) has gone over the 
points very clearly and has shown th^ House 
the exact position we occupy as compared 



with our American neiglibours. In ttie 
county of Essex we are very peculiarly situ- 
ated. We have a shore line of about 150 miles. 
Along these shores we have our Ameri- 
can ueighbiurs, in some places not more than 
2,700 feet distant from us. What we feel to 
be a jfreat grievance is that our Ameiioan 
neighbours are allowed to fish from January 
to January, whereas our people are compelled 
to quit at the very time the fisli are running. 
We have been fishing along these shores for 
75 or 100 years. In a very large number 
of cases the fishermen have purchased the 
land along the shore for the purpose 
of getting the front from which to 
fish. The (rovernment under its present 
policy, and under the policy that has been 
in vogue for many j^ears, are depriving our 
fishermen of that privilege. While our 
shores are well adapted for the propagation 
of fish, we find that while the fish are small 
they remain there, but when they attain 
to that size to be of use to our people then 
the Americans are allowed to take them 
instead of our own people. The Minister 
stated that the fish do not go from one side 
of the lake to the other. But it will be 
found that according as the winds are the 
fish go for the deep and smooth water. So 
that if the Canadians are not allowed to fish, 
our American neighbours surely get them. 
It is stated also by the Minister that we 
are on the eve of having an arrangement 
made with our American neighbours, under '\ 
wliich they will have a close season, the | 
same as ours. For 20 or 2o years | 
the same story has been going the rounds. . 
Twenty years ago at a meeting in Detroit a | 
proposition was made that the Americans ; 
should have a close season, but during I 
the whole of those 20 years we j 
find no arrangements have yet been made. | 
The Americans have taken our fish and ; 
our fishermen are becoming poor. We know \ 
that in the United States each state has | 
a fishery law cf its own, and I/ake Erie, I 
the Detroit River, the St. Clair River, and i 
Lake St. Clair, are under the jurisdiction of ! 
four separate states, namelj% Michigan, ' 
Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. It 
would be almost impossible for Canada to 
make arrangements with the whole of these 
four states at one and the same time. We 
are asking only for fair play. We are 
asking that we be treated the same 
as our American neighbours who are 
on the shores of tlie same waters as 
we are. We ask that when they fish 
we can also fish. If they are determined to 
deplete the waters let us have our share. 
If our fishermen are allowed to fish all 
through the year, observing no close season, 
our neighbours may l>ecome alarmed and be 
led to proclaim a close season. But if they 
will not, and are determined to take the 
last fish, let us have our share of it. Why is it 
that the Americans can take fish by the thou- 
sands, and as my hon. friend (Mr. Allan) 
has said by the million, while we are de- 

i prived of that privilege. We have petition- 
I ed the Government. We bava shown the 
Government the ne>cessity of a change in 
their policy. We have petitioned Parliament 
and the Government through the county 
councils of the counties in which we reside ; 
we have petitioned through the town 
I councils of the different towns along the 
j borders ; and we have petitioned this House 
! through the townships. We have also had 
individual petitions asking for a change of 
policy in reference to the fishing regulations, 
but, Sir, we have had no answer to any one 
of them. W^e feel that this is a great 
grievance. We feel that our people having 
invested a very large amount of money in 
I the purchase of land for fishing purposes 
j and then being deprived of the fish, are ob- 
i liged to suffer a great loss. They have not 
I only invested in the lands, but they have 
I cleared the rivers for the purpose of fishing, 
and the fact that they have not been able 
to utilize their means of livelihood has left 
many of them in debt. They have lost 
their boats and their docks and many other 
investments they have made, all on account 
of the extraordinary and ruinous policy of 
this Government. Sir Charles Tupper said : 
Canada for the Canadians, but. Sir, the Min- 
ister of Marine and Fisheries has said : 
Canadian fish for the Americans. It is 
against the laws of Canada for a Canadian 
to have wliitefish in his possession during 
the close season. The Government them- 
selves come along and take large quantities 
of whitetish for the ova, and the fish being 
killed in the process, are sold to the Ameri- 
cfins. The Canadians who have lived there 
so long, and who have enjoyed the fishing 
formerly, are not permitted to buy these 
fish even from our Caiiadiau Government. 
The Americans have that privilege and hon- 
our. We feel that to be a great grievance. 
Talk about the Czar of Russia and his 
severity to Russian Jews. Sir, no Czar of 
Russia ever treated the Russian Jews as 
the people of Essex have been treated by 
these fishery laws. The Czar of Russia has 
been severe, but not so severe as the Min- 
ister of Marine and Fisheries. Not only does 
he keep the fish for the Americans, but 
when his officers find that a Canadian has 
made a mistake by fishing with a mesh a 
little small, or fishing outside of the dose 
season, they seize his boat and break it up, 
they burn his nets, and the fisherman is 
taken prisoner. All this is done to him when 
he can stand at his own door and look across 
the river, w^hich at many points is not 
broader than twice the distance from 
this House to Sparks street, and see his 
American neighbours take in fish by the 
thousands. We say that this is unfair and 
that it is ill treatment to Canadians. Now, 
Sir, we have no close season for herring 
in our fresh waters, and we find that ir 
1891, there were more herring in Lake Erie 
than there had been in any previous season. 
That shows that the policy of the Adminis- 


tration has not been in the best interests 
of Cauadians. It is ail th3 greater griev- , 
auce, because it is we who grow the tish that 
the Americans catch. My friend from South 
Essex (Mr. Allan) has shown the very large 
amount of fish taken by the American people 
and sold at Sandusky and other American 
towns. If this enormous quantity of lish ' 
is taken on the American side, it is largely 
because the people of Canada have been 
forced to protect the fish for the benefit of 
the American people. When we have the 
spawning grounds, and the feeding grounds 
and all the advantages, why should we not 
have our fair proportion of the fish. May I 
read, and that is all I will say on the sub- 
ject, the following petition :— j 

To the Honourable the House of Commons of the 
Dominion of Canada, in Parliament assembled : 
The petition of the council of the township of 
Sandwich East, in the county of Essex, in the 
province of Ontario, humbly showeth : That the 
fishing interests of the province of Ontario are 
very valuable ; that they belong to the people ,1 
that they should be administered in the best in- , 
terests of the people ; that in this province the \ 
most valuable fisheries are contained in the inter- ; 
national waters which are common to the fisher- ; 
men of Ontario and the United States ; that in j 
international waters the American fishermen have , 
free fishing, are not restricted in the number or ■ 
description of nets, and have practically no close 
season, while in Ontario our fishermen must ob- ; 
tain a license to fish, which places them under j 
the control of the department, when applications : 
may be discriminated against ; when granted, a ; 
high license is exacted ; they are restricted in , 
the number and description of nets, locations for | 
fishing, a weekly close season impossible to ob- j 
serve by lake fishermen, various close seasons for ^ 
different kinds of fish, and a general close season < 
for the month of November ; to such an extent j 
is over-protection carried that in Canada we have ' 
close seasons for mullets, suckers, sturgeon and j 
herring,' which live largely upon the eggs of other \ 
kinJs of fishes. Results — the American catch in | 
the great lakes in three years, 1880-85 and 1889 — 
the only years in which we have official reports — 
the American catch is : 1880, 68,742,000 pounds ; 
1885, 99,842,076 pounds ; 1889, 117,085,568 pounds ; 

total in three years, 285,669,644 pounds. Cana- 
dian catch in all the great lakes and in lakes in 
Ontario, same years, was : 18S0, 11,473,000 
pounds ; 1885, 27,378,180 pounds ; 1889, 32,169.032 
pounds ; total in three years. 71.020,212 pounds. 
The Americans employed in 1889 fishing in the 
great lakes 6,896 men, whose average catch was 
16,977 pounds of fish. The Canadians employed 
in the great lakes in the same year were 3,528 
men, whose average catch was 9,118 'pounds of 
fish. A comparison of the catch of fish in Lake 
Erie for the years 1880, 1885, 1889.— The American 
catch was 144.217,149 pounds, of which 10,189,427 
were whitefish. The Canadian catch in Lake 
Erie during the same years was 18,928,252 pounds, 
of which 697,893 pounds were whitefish. The 
Americans employed 2,181 fishermen on Lake Erie 
in 1889, whose average catch was 29,134 pounds. 
The Canadian employed 465 men in Lake Erie 
fisheries during the same year, who*e average 
catch was 20,700 pounds. The value of the Ameri- 
can cat^h in the great lakes in 1889 was |6,743,- 
359.19 ; the value of the Canadian catch in the 
great lakes in the same year was $1,963,122.80 ; 
difference in favour of the Americans of $4,780,- 
236.39. The value of the American catch in Lake 
Erie in 1889 was $3,248,361.66 ; the value of the 
Canadian catch in Lake Erie in the same year 
was $487,604.47 ; in favour of the Americans, $2,- 

The prices of the various kinds of fish have 
been reckoned at the prices used by the MinJster 
of Fisheries of Canada in valuing the fish caught 
in Ontario in 1889. 

Under similar regulations there is no apparent 
reason why as many Canadians should not be en- 
gaged in the fishing industry as Americans, or 
that the catch on their side should not be as 
large as by American fishermen. 

Your petitioners, therefore, pray that Canadian 
fishermen be placed under the same system of 
free fishing as the American fishermen fishing in 
waters that are common to both, and that tho 
fishermen of Lake St. Clair and Detroit River be 
granted permission to fish for whitefish in the 
month of November, the only month of the year 
that they are to be found in said waters. 

And your petitioners will ever pray. 

That is the case, so far as we ran lay it 
before you in a condensed form. I thank the 
House for the hearing they have given me.