EXTRACTS FROM “ AMONG THE DEEP SEA FISHERS.”
ITEMS FROM HARRINGTON.
January 1913, p. 9.
23rd October, 1912.
It was not until June 20th that our first steamer arrived from Quebec, though what delayed her coming until that date no one knows except that it is part and parcel of the indifference that has always been shown ; it certainly was not ice.
Having only one steamer coming a month, mean's a whole month's wait to get anything one may be in need of, if it should happen not to make connection, which happens more often than necessary it seems.
In spite of the old saying “ Plenty ice, plenty fish,” this part of the Coast has had hardly a medium fishery, and as this follows two seasons of total failure it is not enough to put the men straight with their dealers ; that means a good many things to be done without, and all expenses cut down to the last cent. Nothing is left for clothing, and we have been short again this year, and have not had enough to nearly satisfy the demand. May I not beg for more next season ? It is badly needed.
We are all looking forward to the seal fishery, hoping that it may be a good one. For the past two winters the seals have failed on the coast, and now the people are almost barefooted for the winter, if the seals fail again. It is out of the question to use boots with hard soles in the intense cold, and many of the people cannot pay three dollars for a pair of shoepacks that are not watertight, so the failure to catch a few hundred seals is a serious thing for all the men.
If either of the members of parliament for this country would take the trouble to come along this part of the coast, even if, as yet, the people do not enjoy the franchise, and see for themselves under what disabilities the people whom they took their oath to look after have to live, and how easily their lot could be made brighter, surely they could not but give them a helping hand.
If any member will take the trouble to come, he may rely on me to give him all the help possible, and to tell him some truths as to how these Canadian people are neglected, and taxed even though they have no vote.
(sd)H. MATHER HARE.
October 1917, p. 109.
A GLIMPSE OF LABRADOR LIFE.
By Dr. J. Hinson West.
Speaking more particularly of that part of the coast most familiar to the writer, the Canadian Labrador, (south and west of the Strait of Bell Isle), the crying need of the hour is better trading facilities. With the exception of Harrington, where a steamer from Quebec calls once a month, this section of the coast has no steam communication with the outside world. The people cannot buy from city merchants where they could get their needs supplied at the current prices of the day, nor can they sell their products where they can get full market value. The several trading schooners which do business here, use methods which they would have to abandon if there were open competition.
Two remedies for this state of affairs suggest themselves :
(1) The subsidizing of a steamer service between this portion of the coast and a convenient market, which would be the duty of the Canadian Government.
(2) The establishing of a co-operative enterprise to include the whole district, the launching of which, the Grenfell Association would gladly take in hand as soon as difficulties can be surmounted.
In the meantime, while a solution to the problem is being sought, the fisherman is struggling to make ends meet and frequently failing.