Under the Alien Labour law, and the complaint was investi-78
gated by the Labour Bureau. When the hon. gentleman interrupted me I was proceeding to say that we are seeking, and will be more in the future, to transfer manufacturing operations from the United States to Canada and will find it necessary to bring a certain class of mechanics and skilled operatives to this country to put these enterprises into operation. But wherever this is done, that will lead to the employment of a large amount of Canadian labour of a character that could not be used in initiating the industry but could be utilized after the industry was started.
This law is a copy of one which is a disgrace to the statute-book of any civilized nation and is simply a piece of retaliation, and while I have no objection, for the sake of retaliation, to adopting such a law, yet I say the government are perfectly justified in hedging it with such safeguards as will make its operation not a hardship upon men investing money in Canada and increasing the business of the country. I do not believe that we would be justified in allowing proceedings to be initiated by a complaint made before a police magistrate or justice of the peace, but let some jurist who has sufficient knowledge to enable him to judge justly and correctly between the parties and act with prudence and sagacity, receive the complaint.
My hon. friend (Mr. Charlton) says that a law-which, by the way, has not been enforced-has proved vexatious and damaging to the parties interested. I am afraid that he takes very little note of the number of vexatious and damaging operations against the very men who are asking for the amendment of this law. During last session I presented over a score of petitions from all jiarts of Canada calling attention to the operations of some of the mine-owners of British Columbia and the vexatious and damaging practices resorted to in that country against the Canadian miner. I will just read the first clause in one of these petitions so as to give an idea of what was going on at the time :
That aliens and toreigners have within the two months last past been, and are now being, imported in large and small companies from the state of Minnesota to the Slocan district in British Columbia, to work in, and are being employed in, the mines in that district, to the exclusion of the citizens of this country, and that amongst such importations were the following : One on January 14th of twenty-eight men; January the 28th, of twenty-three men; February 4th, of six men; and February 18th, of twenty-five men, to the Payne mine near Slan-don, B.C. On February 26th, twenty-five men having lost their way to the Slocan, arrived at Rossland, and none of said named company of men, and the majority of all other such aliens and foreigners, some being imported, cannot speak or read the language, and are, as a rule, undesirable citizens and inferior miners ; and that all of such importations have been, and are being induced, solicited and assisted by
mine-owners of the Slocan district, or their agents in this country and in different parts of the United States, with the definite purpose in view, as your petitioners do believe, or wrongfully forcing from this country the Canadian miners belonging to Canadian organized labour; and that 90 per cent of such miners belong to such organizations.'
That is my position exactly on this Bill. If this were moved as an Alien Labour Bill pure and simple, if it were simply a copy of a barbarous law on the United States satutes, I would be against our going any further in this matter. But what is wanted is an anti-contract law, so that any of our own labourers will not be liable to be driven not only from employment but from the country by the importation of contract labour. And these contracts are entered into by foreigners to their own damage. These foreigners are brought in from Minnesota and the Dakotas and Montana, their railway fares are paid, and when they come into this country they are not given work but turned loose at the mouth of the mine, so that they will be forced in a few days to work for lower wages and our men must follow suit or be deprived of employment, and all this Is done with the object of breaking up -the organized labour unions throughout the country. In my opinion the anti-contract labour law should be put into operation in the ordinary way by the laying of information. I understand there is some force in the contention that it would not do to expose some industries to the caprices of irresponsible persons. But my idea of the amendment that is proposed in this Bill certainly was that it gave a choice of the courts to the person who wished to proceed, that the complaint had not to be laid in a court whose jurisdiction went up to $1,000, but that if it was desired to proceed in order to collect $50, the action could be taken in a minor court. If that is not so, it seems to me the object of this clause has been missed, and I think it should be re-drafted so as to meet that case.
I have before me the most recent edition of the United States Alien Labour law, that of 1900. I find that the clause in reference to utilizing the law is this :
That the circuit and district courts of the United States are hereby invested with full and concurrent jurisdiction of all causes, civil and criminal, arising under any of the provisions of this Act; and this Act shall go into effect on the 1st day of April, 1891.
I think that the machinery of our law should be made as simple as possible, if we are going to make the Act operative. I made a few remarks when this subject was up before, and I see that what I said was construed to mean that I thought this Act should remain as at present. My only object in speaking this afternoon is to make my position clear. If this law is put on Mr. PUTTEE.
the statute-book, I want to make it workable, so that the ordinary workingman can get the benefit of it. If a man is going to sue to recover a penalty, he should be allowed to go to the nearest and cheapest court. We should have sufficient confidence in our judiciary to believe that they will administer the law with discretion, and will not allow anybody to conduct a malicious prosecution. Another point is that there is no provision here for deporting aliens who come in in contravention of this Act. That is one of the clauses that should be amended. The United States have amended this part of their law, since 1882, four times, and now they have it in pretty fair shape. Here is the amendment of 1891 ;
Any alien immigrant who shall come into the United States in violation of law may be returned, as by law provided, at any time within one year from the date of his arrival, at the expense of the person or persons, vessel, transportation company or corporation bringing in such alien; and any alien immigrant who shall become a public charge within one year after his arrival from causes existing prior to his landing may be returned at the expense of said above-named parties.
It is also provided that they are to have an inspector at each custom-house under the Act. The same machinery for enforcing the law in the United States should be established under this Aet. Suppose an alien labourer comes into the city of Winnipeg. At present there are no means of deporting him. But, if we had power to send him back at the expense of the railroad that brought him, there would not be so many of these aliens coming in in contravention of the law. In 1897, when this Act was brought into force, some hon. gentlemen said that it would have no; effect. But, as a matter of fact, it had a wonderful effect. But for this law there would have arrived for work on the Crow's Nest Pass road about two thousand Italians. These people were hired by labour agents in Minneapolis, Duluth, Chicago, and some were actually on the train to come to Canada ; but, when it was known that this Act was in force they were stopped. My authority for that is Foley Bros. & Doherty, who said that, not being able to bring these people in, they had lost money on their contract. They were skilled Italian labourers on dump work. There was really nothing to prevent them coming in, because the Act was a dead letter. If we are to make the Act worth anything we must take time to consider and make whatever amendments are necessary.
In reply to the hon. member for Winnipeg (Mr. Puttee), I thought it would be of service to the committee to place before it certain information as to the practical hardships caused by the operation of this Act. I have in my hand a letter from the Michigan Land and Lumber Company, a
firm that are establishing a large industry at Blind River, at the north shore of Lake Huron. They bought the old Blind River property, and are reconstructing it and making out of it a modern mill, and investing in that mill, I understand, some $200,000. A complaint was laid against the company recently, and Mr. Williams the labour agent of the bureau here, visited Blind River, and made investigation. The course pursued by Mr. Williams was very satisfactory. So far as he was able to do so, he carried the law into effect in a way to injure their interests as little as possible. Mr. Fisher, whose respectability is guaranteed by the fact that he was candidate for Governor of the state of Michigan two years ago, writes as follows :-
Our company regrets keenly that we have made any investments in Canada for manufacturing. The scarcity of labour and the high price we had to pay, so increased the cost of our product that no money was made on our last year's business. We have been tearing our mill all to pieces this winter, and when done, will have practically a new mill, the latest and best of its kind. We supposed that we were conducting ourselves properly in building an industry at this point, benefiting the locality by increasing its population, enhancing the value of the property and in every way benefiting our Canadian friends.
It is not possible to go on with this mill and have it ready for business, depending on Canada for the skilled labour, nor is it possible for us to operate the mill when completed if we depend altogether upon Canadian help, as our machinery is different from that in Canada and needs experienced help to operate it.
If this law is to be strictly enforced against us, we may as well abandon it where we are. Our only source for securing labour of any kind is Sudbury, 102 miles east of us, or the Canadian ' Soo,' eighty miles west of us, v'hile to the north is an unbroken wilderness. At the two points mentioned no millmen are to be had, simply woodsmen and common labourers. These we cannot employ without the mill being in operation, and the mill can only be operated by experienced men. The operation of the mill will give employment to a large number of Canadians.
I have another letter from Messrs. Eddy Bros., who have acquired large limits on the Mississagua River, and are transferring their milling operations from Bay City to Canada, building a mill costing $250,000, and digging a canal from the Mississagua River to good logging and booming ground near Blind River-establishing an industry that will, turn out 30,000,000 or 40,000,000 feet of lumber a year, and will employ a large number of men. Mr. Eddy was one of the parties against whom charges were preferred. He was the gentleman who ascertained the name of one of the complainants, and it turned out that the man was a drunken scallawag, [DOT] whom it had taken two months to get out of his boarding house. The charges were explained satisfactorily. Another man felt himself aggrieved and gave notice that he would 78}
complain. Mr. Eddy attempted to get an interview with him, and went so far as to follow him to the station to explain the circumstances that was the cause of the grievance and get the man to go back to his work. But he failed to find the man, who went away and afterwards entered a complaint. Complaint was made, nominally by sixty-five persons, but many of the names were afterwards found to be fictitious. Under the operation of the law it is impossible for the party complained against to learn who the complainants are, he cannot get their names, they are kept private. That is a sort of proceeding which, it strikes me, is irregular, that a man cannot confront his accusers and meet the charges. Mr. Eddy writes :
We are situated seventy-seven miles from the Canadian ' Soo,' and 102 miles from Sudbury.
That is a stretch of country, I may say, along the North Shore where the population is very sparse. Large milling industries have been started recently : The two mills already referred to, one at John's Island opposite Cutler, one at Cutler, and another at Little Current. Five new mills have been constructed, besides the old mills that are now standing idle. There is a great scarcity of labour. Mr. Eddy informed me that he had sent a party to Ottawa to attempt to hire men, and after he had been here two weeks he had only been able to find five men, when he needed a couple of hundred. He writes :
We are situated about seventy-seven miles from the Canadian ' Soo,' and 102 miles from Sudbury. In this stretch of 179 miles, the country is very sparsely settled, and there is no place to secure labour. It must be generally understood that one has to go to some thickly populated centre to secure a large crew of men for a large industry to get it once started. On account of the boom at the Canadian 1 Soo,' there being no mills in that locality, we have no outlet that way through which to secure a class of men such as we need; and the most easy place for us to get men of this class would be at Ottawa, 420 miles east of Blind river, which you will readily understand is a serious task, as they want all the skilled labour they have at Ottawa themselves. To give you a little more definite idea of the settlements in the neighbourhood of Blind river, there is only one wagon road out of that place, which runs north-westerly, following the Mississaga river, and there are very few settlers on the road. Thessalon, twenty-seven miles west of us, is the only town entitled to the name of a village along the whole Canadian Pacific Railway road between Sudbury and the ' Soo,' and this whole district can scarcely supply any number of men towards our wants. You understand that three years ago there were no saw-mills in that part of the country running; now there are eight mills between there and Little Current, aDd all the labour these eight mills may need (coming by rail) must come to Blind river, Spargge or Cutler; and we cannot see how we are going to supply skilled labour to run these mills except by getting them there by some inducement. Common labour we can probably secure all right,
but as there are no skilled mill men around there, some inducement must be held out to get them there. Now, there are abandoned mills all along the line from Canadian ' Soo ' to Bay City, Michigan (points most convenient for us to reach from there), and experienced labour in this line could be readily obtained from this locality. This applies strictly to skilled labour required in lumber mills.
Under the construction of the Alien Labour Act, I cannot conceive any way for us to get these men to Canada that would not be construed as a violation of the law if strictly enforced, and we do not know where we can secure this class of men in Canada. We have taken this matter up with Mr. Williams, and there are two very essential points in the law that might be amended, and we think the department inclines to recommend them.
Then he goes on to explain the points. The suggestions he makes are : .
The clause that refers to a new industry and reads, ' a new manufacturing plant or factory.' Our plant, as it reads now, will not be classed as a new industry; under such an amsndment we would get the benefit for at least the first year. The next and probably the most important amendment would be that the offcers of the department should have some power to suspend the law in the interests of new factories or mills, as in their judgment it will be to the interest of Canadians to encourage these industries by allowing the importation of skilled labour.
Now, Mr. Chairman, here are two cases where the establishment of industries are matters of great importance to Canada, two establishments that will give employment to probably 450 or 500 men ; but a strict construction of the provisions of this law would prevent these industries from being started, because the owners would be unable to procure the skilled labour that would put these establishments in operation, and by that means afford employment for common labour. They can get, as they say, common labour, but they cannot get skilled men for running band saws, and for caring for the delicate machinery in these modern and highly improved mills. To say that they should not by some means be permitted to introduce that class of labour which is absolutely essential to the successful working of their plant, is simply to say that these Industries shall not be started, and that employment shall not be furnished to the hundreds of common labourers that would otherwise be employed if they were allowed facilities for putting these establishments into operation. I merely put these facts before the committee 'in order that it may realize some phases of this matter which are not probably understood, and have not been brought to the attention of the members of the committee generally. I do not think, Mr. Chairman, that the introduction into this country of large amounts of capital, the starting in this country of manufacturing establishments of any kind, and the introduction of skilled labour that is necessary to make these investments a
success, and would furnish employment to our own people-I cannot conceive In what way this can be looked upon as a class of operations that should be impeded or prevented by the operation of Canadian law.
The discussion which has taken place has brought to the front two questions : first of all, the question of jurisdiction which is contemplated under the Bill, and then the suggestion that the jurisdiction itself ought to be vested in some court, and what .court it should be. As to the first question, I may say that the intention of the Bill was to place the jurisdiction where it was before, that is to say, in a Superior Court. The hon. leader of the opposition has taken exception to this, not perhaps to the policy, but to the phraseology of the Bill. He is of the opinion that as the Bill is worded the jurisdiction might be in one of the Superior Courts and it might be in inferior courts, division courts, or courts of justices of the peace, which have jurisdiction for debts of $50. That was not the intention of the Bill. The Bill was drafted with some care, and the intention was to vest the jurisdiction in the Superior Court. Such being the intention, is the wording of the Bill sufficient to prevent any possibility of doubt ? The section is framed in these terms :
For every violation of any of the provisions of section X of this Act. the person, partnership, company or corporation violating it by knowingly, assisting, encouraging or soliciting the immigration or importation of any alien or foreigner into Canada to perform labour or service of any kind under contract or agreement, express or implied, parole or special, with such alien or foreigner, previous to his becoming a resident in or a citizen of Canada, shall forfeit and pay a sum not exceeding $1,000, nor less than $50.
Now, the offence itself carries the penalty with it, and there is a forfeiture of $1,000 imposed by the law itself, and at the discretion, not of the complainant, but of the judge. If it can be contended under this Act that the discretion is left with the complainant, then I can understand the argument of the leader of the opposition ; but if it be made clear that the discretion is not with the complainant, but with the court itself, that the judge may say whether the penalty should be $50, $100 or $1,000, it seems to me that the objection of my hon. friend the leader of the opposition falls to the ground.-
That would serve no purpose, because our Bill differs from the American Bill. At all events I am explaining the objects of the Bill, I am simply answering the criticism of the leader of the opposition, that we do not carry out the intention which was in our minds, and leave a doubt. I think there can be no doubt, at all events, that what we had in our minds was to leave the jurisdiction in the Superior Courts competent to deal with questions affecting a sum of $1,000.
So much for this first point. Now I come to the criticism which has been made by the hon. member for West Toronto (Mr. Clarke), that the jurisdiction ought to be, not in the Superior Court, but in the minor courts, the police court, the division court, and so on. His criticism has been taken up by the hon. member for Winnipeg (Mr. Puttee), and the hon. member for Lisgar (Mr. Richardson), and the argument that has been adduced has been this : Why not allow any complainant under this Act to go to the nearest court and have his redress ? The objection to that is this : the experience that I have had in the working of this Act has been, that any complaint as to the violation of the law has been taken up by the labour organizations and not by individuals. If ever there has been cause to invoke the aid of the law, if there has been alien labour imported into this country against the provisions of the Act, invariably the complaint was taken up by the labour organizations themselves, and in no case so far as I know, has it been left to individuals to bring action under this Act. I will say that it is very much to the credit of the labour organizations-and I am proud to say, at this moment, that when drafting the Bill, we drafted it after a conference with the labour organizations-that ever since the Act has been in force since 1897, the labour organizations have been very moderate in their demands, and have never tried to abuse the powers of the law, but have tried simply to have the law faithfully carried out. They have never left it to an individual to rush to the Minister of Justice to ask for the enforcement of the law, but they have investigated the complaints themselves and brought them to the Minister of Justice. In these eases, the labour organizations have never had any intention, so far as I know, beyond the fair enforcement of the law. I know there have been complaints, sometimes, that, perhaps, strictly speaking, the law had been violated ; but, they recognized that there may be some justification for the importation of labour under certain circumstances, and they do not ask for the application of the law to such circumstances. If the enforcement of the law is to be undertaken by the labour organizations themselves, and they want, I think, no violent enforcement of the Act, but simply its enforcement when there is cause for it, there is no harm in proposing that the remedy should be left in the court of highest jurisdiction. If you leave it in the power of any one to rush to the neighbouring court, or to go to the neighbouring justice of the peace, to lay his case before him, very probably you will have a good deal of heartburning somewhere. For instance, take the complaint laid down by the hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton). He mentions the case of a man wno is a large employer of labour, who has introduced capital into this country, and that man would feel very much aggrieved if it were in the power of any workmen to rush to a neighbouring justice of the peace and commence action against him. We want to preserve for Canadian labour the Canadian market. As to that we are all agreed, and while that is the policy which we want to adopt, and which we are willing to enforce, it is not unfair to ask that the court should deal cautiously with all such matters, and should not interfere except when there is due cause shown; not the primary court, but the highest court of jurisdiction. That is what has been conceived to be the principle of the law, and in this respect, I understood that the Bill would be acceptable to the labour organizations of the land.
I agree with the hon. member for West Toronto (Mr. Clarke) in the view he has taken on this question. I quite agree with the right hon. Prime Minister that it-would be utterly out of the question to have these matters dealt with by the police magistrates in the country, because it would not be expected that the magistrates of the country would be conversant with the law, and would be prepared, owing to local prejudices, to deal fairly with the subject; but, owing to the fact that you must have some simple method of enforcing the law, I would suggest that some method should be adopted along the lines suggested by the hon. member for West Toronto. In the towns most of the police magistrates are members of the bar, and they bring a legal mind to bear on the adjudication of the cases entrusted to them. But, one might go farther than these police magistrates and have the cases dealt with altogether by the county court judges. Take the statute as it is, and as it is proposed to be amended ; of necessity these cases must be dealt with in the Superior Court. Any man who is possessed
of any property, or who has any standing in the community, would not feel it incumbent upon himself to commence an action of this kind to vindicate a principle, because, in the event of being defeated in his case, his property would be available for the costs, and there would be a deterrent factor against actions being brought. Then, assuming that such a case as that suggested by the hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton) should arise ; a person may come' over from the United States'under contract to fit up a mill, or to erect a mill. That might happen in the spring of the year ; assuming that the Superior Court for the district had held its sittings, because, in the province of Ontario we have a spring and a fall court of assize, and if action were brought against a person after the spring assizes were over, it would not come to trial until late in the fall. Before that the work would all have been completed, and these alien employees might have returned to their homes. Furthermore, the action would be defeated by reason of the fact that the man who was figuring as defendant would have no goods in the country out of which costs could be realized. I quite agree that it would be utterly unfair to have these actions relegated to country magistrates, but I think they should be dealt with either by county court judges, or, in large towns, in towns of over 5,00b, by the police magistrates. There are some other things in the Bill that are objectionable. In the event of any damages being recovered, the amount is payable to the Receiver General. Why not make that amount paj
man that this very firm of Fisher & Co., of Blind River, openly advertised in the Bay City newspapers for skilled labour to come over to Canada to work in these very mills. I trust that some less cumbersome measure than this will be passed.
What can be the objection to clearly defining what court shall have jurisdiction in this matter ? It is very easy to say that the jurisdiction shall be in the Superior Court and also in the county courts, and also with magistrates in cities of over 5,000 population.
AY MORRISON! (New Westminster). The First Minister stated that it was the intention of this clause that the case should be dealt with in the Superior Courts. I presume that the government have been mindful of all the provinces in drafting this measure, and it would be well for them to consider that in the province of British Columbia the jurisdiction of the county court extends to $1,000. In regard to the section as a whole, I am in very great sympathy with the views expressed by the member for West Toronto (Mr. Clarke) and in some respects by the leader of the opposition. If there is one matter more than another in respect of which there should be the greatest clearness and simplicity it is in a matter of this kind, and, in my opinion, section 3 as it stands is susceptible of very great difference of opinion and controversy. I believe jurisdiction should be given to the county courts and probably also to stipendiary magistrates, who, I presume, are only appointed in towns. The jurisdiction of a stipendiary magistrate, as we all know, is equal to that of two ordinary magistrates, and as the maximum penalty is $1,000, magistrates would have no jurisdiction. It is my opinion that stipendiary magistrates, and county courts, as well as Superior Courts should have jurisdiction in this matter. All reasonable facilities should be given to initiate an action under this section. The very reading of the lines fixing the amount presupposes that more than one court is considered; for this section says : ' With the written consent of any judge of the court in which the proposed action is intended to be brought.' Having regard to these words and the amount involved, one might presuppose the county court to be meant. If it is intended to be the Superior Court, and the section is susceptible of that reading, you have at once a contest. If the action were laid in the county court, the objection might be raised that it should be laid in the Superior Court. I think it is a matter of the greatest ease to make the meaning clear, even if you have to mention a certain court for each province. Moreover, I believe that in Ontario at present the question of extending the jurisdiction of the inferior courts is being considered. Taking merely a casual construction of section 3, and with all respect to the gentleman who drafted it, I think it is somewhat vague and loosely drawn. It should be a little more explicit as to the courts in which these actions are to be brought. I should like to refer to the remarks made by the hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton). He has given one or two isolated instances in which hardship might be caused to employers of labour. But, as the hon. member for Winnipeg (Mr. Puttee) has stated, you must look at the other side of the picture. For instance, in the province of British Columbia, on the Fraser river, where there are probably some 12,000 or 15,000 engaged in connection with the salmon fisheries for a very short time each year, a great many people come from Puget Sound ports-Seattle, Tacoma and Port Townsend-in their scow houses and large boats, and live in British Columbia waters. They are aliens, they have absolutely no interest in the province except to fish there, and many bring their supplies. They take away the fruits of that Canadian industry and go back to American territory, and neither the province nor the Dominion of Canada gets any advantage at all from their advent. If there is any law to prevent that sort of thing, it has not yet been enforced. I could give a number of instances of that kind. Although 1 will go as far as the hon. member for North Norfolk to safeguard the interests of our manufacturers and manufacturing industries, at the same time we must not be unmindful of the inroads of alien labour, in the western parts of the Dominion in particular. It would not be so bad if those aliens were coming here with a view of remaining permanently; but they come to stay only four or five weeks or two months at the outside, and then they go carrying the fruits of their labours with them. When this Alien Labour Act is being amended, I think it should be amended so as to cover every conceivable case of hardship on the part of the labouring people of this country. At present I do not think it does. If it can be shown to extend to the people I have referred to, then it is not enforced. Who is to blame for that I am not prepared to say. It is well enough for the government to consult labour organizations; but the practice I have spoken of goes on year after year, and I intend to refer to it in the future on every occasion that I have an opportunity, publicly and personally. Now that the Alien Labour Act is being amended, I trust that the government will listen to suggestions made from either side of the House, in regard to restricting in the strongest way these aliens who are coming in and taking the fruits of labour out of the hands and the mouths of our own people.