Editor of the Labour Gazette. We find moreover that in a letter of the same date Mr. King states to Mr. Bertrand, the lockman, employed on the Beauharnois canal :
Dear Sir,-Your telegram of this morning was a surprise to me, as this department had not received any formal communication from the union at Valleyfield to send a representative there.
I notice on the blank form of schedule which you filled in reference to the present strike, under the head of ' remarks," you state that the union would be glad if I came down and saw things for myself as these schedules are sent to both employers and employees, and are only for the purpose of gathering information for publication in the Labour Gazette, a reference of this sort could hardly be regarded as sufficient justification for this department to send any one to look into the dispute in question.
Besides, as editor of the Labour Gazette, I would not on my own initiative feel free to
leave Ottawa without special authorization from the minister.
Since receiving your telegram I have communicated with the Hon. Mr. Mulock, Minister of Labour, who is at present in western Ontario, and will doubtless receive a reply as soon as my telegram reaches him, and I will notify you immediately of the result.
MACKENZIE KING, Editor of the Labour Gazette.
I call the attention of the House to the fact that the employees of the mills having made no demand of any kind whatever, Mr. Bertrand, still warmly influenced by the idea that lie must absolutely defend the interests of those people, and obtain some justification for them ; anxious to come to the help of those strikers who were not on strike, who had made no demand, evidently entered into communication with the Hon. Mr. Mulock. We have not his communication here, which is to be regretted, but we have the answer of the Minister of Labour, and what does he say ? Telegraphing to the lockman at Valley field, he says to him on the 27th October :
Just received telegram from Mr. King, Deputy Minister of Labour, informing me of telegram from you asking government representative to meet parties to Valleyfield cotton mills dispute with a view to conciliatory action. If friendly intervention of Department of Labour acceptable to both parties, I would be pleased render every possible assistance looking to satisfactory settlement if differenced by means either of board of conciliation or arbitration. If both parties desire it, I will be glad to confer with them with a view to selection of satisfactory board and to be a member of the same either as umpire or otherwise. At present much engaged with elections. If parties look favourably upon this offer, would suggest that for present strike be suspended and men return to work, and on the 8th November I will proceed to Valleyfield to confer with both parties and lend every possible assistance in the direction indicated, so as -to bring about such a settlement of matters in dispute as will meet the reasonable demand of both parties. Am under engagement to address public meetings every day (Sunday exoe-pted) until election day. Therefore, to -take up the Valleyfield strike matter until after election would compel me to abandon further part in pending political campaign; nevertheless, am perfectly willing to make this sacrifice if parties to dispute are unwilling to suspend strike, and if they desire my immediate friendly intervention. Am telegraphing to like effect to mayor of Valleyfield and Mr. Greenshields on behalf of Montreal Cotton Company of Valley-field. Perhaps you would see him upon this subject at once.
(Sgd.) W. MULOCK,
Minister of Labour.
Now, let us take the answer of the mill company to this despatch which brought to their knowledge, evidently for the first time, the fact that their operatives wanted something. In the telegram sent by Mr. Green-shields on the 28th of October-and the dates are of some importance-in answer to the telegram of the minister, Mr. Greenshields says :
Your telegram received re strike at Valleyfield. There is no dispute between the company and their operatives, and no demand has been made by them on the company. They are not working, but for what reason we do not know.
The reason was that the troops were there-
The demand for increased wages was made by men who were temporarily employed as labourers in excavations being made for a new mill. This work, under any circumstances, would have been stopped in about three weeks, and, under the circumstances, the -company have decided to discontinue the work. There is nothing to arbitrate or settle between the company or any of their employees. The company appreciate your kind offer.
So I was right when I stated that there was no difficulty at the time Mr. Greenshields' intervention obtained the sending of troops to Valleyfield. There was no difficulty between the mill company and the employees, and we are led to ask ourselves for what reason this strike was brought on ; for what reason Mr. Bertrand, the lock master, the man who had no interest at all in common with these officers, brought about the summoning of troops to Valleyfield and the intervention of the Labour Bureau.
Let us take the acts of the Deputy Minister of Labour after he came to Valleyfield. And perhaps the best way is to take his own account, together with the affidavits which I will lay before the House, and particularly what is set forth in the improved return from the Militia Department -the return which was only brought down after the debate of the 25tli April last, when I was taken to task so severely for having dared to make some reflections on the role played by the Deputy Minister of Labour.
Let me read what the deputy minister says he did at Valleyfield. and I am quoting from page 102 of the Labour Gazette, the account given by the deputy minister himself. It is entitled: ' A settlement affected ' :
Immediately on his arrival in Valleyfield, Mr. King put himself in communication with the company and the men, obtaining, during the course of the day, several interviews with both parties and arranged for a meeting of the strikers to tj9 held in the town hall that evening. At this meeting, a final settlement of the difficulties was arranged. The strieking operatives maintained that the reason they did not return to work was because of the presence of the militia in the vicinity of the mills. They stated that it was because of the militia being, as they believed, called out unnecessarily, and, as they thought, for the purpose of intimidating the men, that the strike among the mill operatives had begun. This cause being removed, they were prepared to return to work at once. As evidence of good faith in the matter, they agreed to return to work the following day, and remain at work provided the troops were withdrawn during the course of the day.
This was on Monday the 29th October. Mr. King arrived in Valleyfield that morn-