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entering into competition with the other parts of the world. Our manufactures—we had some at Confederation, but they declined-declined because of the uncertainty of communication. They could not compete with similar manufactures on the mainland. Before that they had been protected by their own tariff, although it was not called protection. But when we entered Canada, we entered upon an equal basis of competition with all the enterprises of the mainland, and we could not hold our own. It is not only that passage in winter is interrupted from time to time, but there is an uncertainty hanging over the whole service that paralyzes the energies of the people. When the winter season sets in, no man can feel himself safe, in being able to send his goods abroad, or to receive them in return. That paralysis has been a condition existing, for forty years, but we think we have found the right doctor and that the cure is at hand.
In the matter of agriculture, Prince Edward Island has always had a high reputation and has deserved it. But here again we suffered greatly. All perishable goods were liable to loss or deterioration in shipping. In order to get them out of the Province, we sent them away early in the fall and we glutted the markets, with the result that we received for perishable goods not more than one half of what farmers on the mainland received. The loss has been incalculable in the total. It is no wonder then that many of our people went abroad to places where opportunities seemed to be better.
We have lost in population; it is smaller to-day than when we entered Confederation for the reasons that I have mentioned. And we are penalized in our subsidies by reason of that, where the penalty should, we think, be imposed on the other party to the contract. But one good thing has resulted. You, in Ontario, have done the same thing to a certain extent; so has every province from this down to the sea. You have sent your sons and your daughters to the West, and you missed them from home, and their going has been a loss to their home provinces; but the end is not very far away. In the balance of advantage we will find that emigration from the eastern part of Canada will grow less and less with the growing opportunities of the east. Our sons who have gone into the other provinces have done a work that no others could have done. We are building up in the western half of Canada a population derived from many parts of the world, and many of these people have not had the opportunities of education in free institutions, or the general education which our own people have had. They do not know how to work the institutions of the country. Even those who come out from Britain have much to learn about the new conditions here. The best immigrants that went to the West, the best colonizers were the men and women who went from Eastern Canada. (Applause) And they were absolutely necessary to leaven the mass of population and establish there Canadian views and Canadian methods. But that work is pretty well done; I do not think that we are charged with the responsibility of carrying that on very much further. But I do think that the sacrifices that we have made were sacrifices in the interests of the whole Canadian people and that in the end the reward will come. We have planted men in every important point in Western Canada, and in most of the important positions we have men of eastern birth and eastern experience and, above all things, of eastern sympathy, and the value of that sympathy we can hardly measure. The two parts of Canada are divided by a wide area of desert, shall we say; geographically we may say that one part of Canada is west and the other part is east, but when our eastern population has flowed over the whole West and are there occupying positions of importance and power, we have the greatest guarantee possible that the east and the west will be united in their sympathies and united in their efforts for the future. (Applause)
I have wandered rather far away from Prince Edward Island. Our greatest industry is agriculture, and here again a forward movement has been made that has filled our people with hope. Mr. Burrell, the Minister of Agriculture, who, I think, also claims some relation to this Province, has seized upon this question strongly; and in the proposed distribution of the money to be applied to agricultural purposes our little Province has been most generously treated. (Applause)
In the year that is past we have advanced so far that we have been able to open an agricultural school, and I have just had word that when the roll was called there were over five hundred students in attendance. Under the plan that is now before Parliament, if it is carried through, we shall be enabled to introduce into our public schools the teaching of Nature Study; we shall be able to equip ourselves in such a way that every scholar throughout the country may take up that most interesting of all studies, the study of Nature, and we hope to carry that on grade by grade until those who wish to specialize in farming and make a profession of farming may obtain their complete training in a central school within the Province itself. The advantage of bringing education near to the farmer was never more strongly illustrated than in our own case. We used to pay the expenses of the students to go to Nova Scotia and attend an excellent school there, and the Government of Nova Scotia very generously charged no fees; our Government thought that its duty was being done. The highest number that ever went was over eighty. But since the opportunity has been brought nearer home, the result has been that six or seven times as many have taken advantage of it. Now that is the position in which we stand agriculturally. You have heard the Province referred to, as other parts of Canada have been referred to, as the Garden Province. There is no question that, taking acre for acre, we have perhaps as fine an agricultural piece of territory as can be found, not excepting Ontario, which has some magnificent agricultural
Our other great source of revenue is the fisheries. We have the food fish that command the highest price in the world, the lobsters and oysters. The lobster fishery is one of long standing, as is the oyster fishery; but the oyster fishery in its new development is something of a very recent date. From the earliest times the Island oysters have been famous, and prices paid for them were the highest paid for any oysters in the world. That was very good for those who had oysters to sell, but it was hard on the oysters. (Laughter) They raked the beds and kept them raked, so that the poor little oysters, instead of leading a dull life as nature intended they should, were kept on the move continually, and as the price mounted higher the fishing became more intense and the number to be caught became less, until we managed to reduce the catch down to twenty per cent. of its maximum, and we would soon have managed to wipe out that twenty per cent.
The reason nothing was done in connection with cultivating and developing the oyster in the waters around Prince Edward Island was that there was a divided jurisdiction between the Island and Canada; no one could tell where the right of one began and the other ended; and although negotiations went on for years in the hope of some settlement, nothing was done until last year, when we were fortunate enough to procure the passing of a Statute which enabled the Government to transfer their interest in the disputed areas to the Province. Under that Statute we took out an agreement; and having opened the door, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and British Columbia have since followed; and we are very glad, indeed, that we were able to bring about a satisfactory state of affairs not only for ourselves but for these other provinces. We wish to see every province develop its resources to the fullest possible extent. As a result of these proceedings we have had surveys made of the areas in the bottoms of the bays and harbours, and 20,000 acres laid off in five-acre blocks. Up to the 31st of December last, although only two months since the surveys were completed, between three thousand and four thousand acres have been leased to private owners for oyster culture, and we hope before the present year is past that an area of four or five times that amount will be added, and that year by year we will be able to extend our oyster plantations until we will have brought into active use the whole of the areas around our coast suitable for that purpose.
We have at least a hundred thousand acres of land suitable for the growing of oysters. The New England States, producing an article very much inferior, and in conditions not nearly so favourable, have developed their fisheries until here is the comparison: Fourteen years ago the State of Rhode Island derived from its oyster leases $6,000; last year, as a result of their development under private ownership, they had reached a total of $133,000. And they have leased only as much in lots as we have in a single bay in our Province, in Richmond Bay which is the home of the Malpeque oyster. We have in Richmond Bay to-day, ready for leasing in blocks of five acres, some thirteen thousand acres, and there is no question that that will rapidly be taken up, for wherever oysters are known the Malpeque oyster heads the list. He is the aristocrat among all the fish.
This work cannot be done without much labour and very considerable experience. If we look for a few minutes at the early life of the oyster, we shall see just what he needs, and some of the conditions we require to make for him in order that he may prove that brilliant success in life which he was intended to be. The oyster is very prolific—and I speak now on the authority of Dr. Stafford—is capable of producing in a season sixteen million eggs. I may say that I never counted them, but Dr. Stafford, I have no doubt, arrived at the conclusion upon a proper basis. These hatch very quickly -in four or five days if the temperature of the water suits—and then the little fellows have the time of their lives. They swim about and have all the fun they are going to have for the rest of their lives. After about a month their shell has formed enough to sink. At this time they are first visible to the naked eye. When they sink down, they have a little foot like a clam, with which they crawl, and they seek some place to which they can attach themselves. What they are afraid of is that if they do not attach themselves firmly, the tides will bear them out to sea, or the crabs or other fish will eat them, or that they will sink in the mud and be choked. They are looking for some hard substance to which they can cement themselves. Each one is fitted out with a little bit of cement, and if he can only manage to get that to stick he will save his life. If he happens to attach it