May 4, 1903

LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

Not by lower wages, but by the privilege of importing skilled labour-not ordinary labour or cheap labour, but skilled labour, and of a character that cannot be procured in this country. It does not propose to take from the skilled labourer here the employment that may be his due, but merely asks the privilege of importing that kind of skilled labour which cannot be procured here. This is a class of protection without increase of duty. It is a class of protection that will enable the manufacturer to increase the efficiency of his operations, to import improved methods and improved machinery, to bring here a class of expert workmen who can teach others in this country the methods in which they have been instructed in foreign countries. The great manufacturing nations of the world are all copying the improved methods which other manufacturing nations have developed, they are all bringing in skilled labour to increase the efficiency of their operations, to cheapen and increase production. Russia has developed an enormous manufacturing

interest in textile fabrics,_ in metals, in all lines of manufacture, and Russia imports English workmen, American workmen. American machinery. Russia has created a vast manufacturing interest by doing the very thing which this absurd law condemns and prohibits. The same is true with regard to Germany. Germany is importing American machinery for the manufacture of bicycles, for the manufacture of boots and shoes, for making pig iron, for rolling rails, for making structural steel, and is importing American skilled workmen to set up that machinery. The manufacturing industries of Germany have been revolutionized by the adoption of the very methods which this law will not allow us to adopt in the Dominion of Canada. I myself saw a German who was sent to examine the system of manufacturing pig iron in the United States, who said that the labour of ten men would produce more pig iron under the American system then the labour of twenty men would do in Germany; and his business was to look into the) system, to see what the methods were and the character of the machinery employed, and to make arrangements to import into Germany the kind of skilled labour which was not obtainable there. If this absurd law had been in force in Germany, such a thing could not have been done. There could have been no improvement in the methods of the German manufacturer, because the very steps to improvement would have been declared illegal.

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CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

What law was that copied from V

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LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

The English manufacturers have also been copying American methods; and where they have failed to do so, they have fallen behind in the race in many lines. Take, for instance, boots and shoes. A short time ago an English shoe dealer who had bought $50,000 worth of shoes in Chicago to send to England, was asked : Why have you done that ?

Have you not as cheap labour in England ? ' Oh, yes,' he replied, ' Well, what is the matter ? ' ' We have not the improved

machinery that the Americans have.' ' Why don't you get it ? ' ' Because the trades'

unions of England will not allow that machinery to be put in operation. Not only will tiiey not allow us to import skilled labour, which we cannot get in Great Britain, but they will not allow us to use the improved machinery, and consequently we are losing our hold on the markets.' That is the work of the trades' unions in England, cutting off their noses to spite their faces, and doing more than that-depriving themselves of bread.

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LIB
LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

Certainly there is. It is a palpable fact; and here is this law, maintained and upheld by the trades' unions

of Canada, which lays on our manufacturers the handicap of being unable to put themselves in line with their competitors in other countries, because it does not allow them to introduce the machinery necessary, or the labourers necessary to put that machinery in operation; but they are to be compelled to stay in the background, going on in the old rut, employing the old class of labourers and the old class of machinery, and playing second fiddle to other countries.

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LIB

Ralph Smith

Liberal

Mr. SMITH (Vancouver).

Is there any law in England which prevents the importation of expert labour ?

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LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

Yes, there is a law there, the law of brute force of the labour unions. We have not developed the brute force here, but we have the law on the statute-book, which acts just as effectively, and more so. As I have said, England's loss from the practical adoption of this policy is the loss in many instances of her progress in manufactures, the loss of her ascendancy, the loss of her ability to compete with her competitors, the loss in that keen race between the manufacturing nations which requires the nation which is going to forge ahead, to be permitted to use every instrument, every force, every improvement, every degree of skill, to range the whole world over to bring to herself all those elements of success which are essential to the consummation of her ambition. Special and skilled labour is a necessary thing in a country like Canada, where our manufacturing interests are not fully developed, our manufacturers can only hold their own against the manufacturing interests of the great nation to the south by being permitted to use the best methods to secure the best labour, by being entirely untrammelled in their operation and efforts to secure ascendancy or at least abiltv to compete.

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LIB

Ralph Smith

Liberal

Mr. SMITH (Vancouver).

Have they not an alien labour law in the United States ?

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LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

They have no such law as this, forbidding the importation of skilled labour.

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LIB
LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

It does not matter. If a manufacturer who has the plant and finds that he cannot get the labour to run that plant successfully, is to be debarred from bringing that labour in which he cannot secure at home, his operations are handicapped, and you are placing a restriction on him that is not only injurious to himself but detrimental to the interests of the country and the very association which is forcing this absurd provision on the government of Canada. I repeat that the provisions of this law are unjust. It is a self-evident fact that where a manufacturer requires skilled labour and improved machinery, where he requires any improvement that will tend to Mr. CHARLTON.

increase the efficiency of his operations by diminishing the cost of production, a law that prevents him from going out and securing the best kind of machinery and the means necessary to put it into operation, is unjust to him, detrimental to the interests of the country, and an absurd act of tyranny on the part of whatever force or element forces that law into operation. I shall not detain the House further, but ask concurrence in the Bill I submit. It is as follows :

Section five of chapter eleven of the statute of 1897, intituled ' an Act to restrict the importation and employment of aliens ' is amended by striking out the words ' in or upon any new industry not at present established in Canada ' in the tenth and eleventh lines of that section.

The second section will then read :

Nor shall this Act be so construed as to prevent any person, partnership, or corporation for engaging under contract or agreement skilled workmen in foreign countries to perform labour in Canada, provided that skilled labour cannot be otherwise obtained.

The question may be raised as to what is skilled labour and whether it can be obtained or not and how that is to be determined. I was discussing this matter with the lion. Minister of Justice, and I agree with him that if this amendment were allowed a second reading, it should be referred to the Committee of the Whole and that I should move that that Committee of the Whole should rise and report progress for the purpose of giving the hon. minister and the government opportunity to make such safeguards as they might deem proper. If the House will permit the second reading, it will open merely one stage in the matter and then whatever safeguards with which my hon. friend desires to surround his amendment, may be incorporated in it.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

I do not intend to take up very much of the time of the House at this late hour, but am rather surprised at the hon. gentleman moving of a Bill of this character, in view of the fact that he himself is one of the commission, I believe, which intends going to Washington in a very short time. I remember the hon. gentleman finding fault some years ago with the government for taking off the duty on corn, because In so doing they had taken a very strong argument out of the mouth of the Canadian ministers for getting something which would be of advantage to the people of Canada. He is to-night doing the same thing himself. The present Act was before this House many years and defeated many years until public opinion became so strong that it forced the government to pass it. We all agree that it is an act of tyranny, but so is the law of the United States, and it became necessary for the people of Canada to pass this Act in order to protect themselves against an exactly similar one passed by the United States We were obliged to give the

people of the United States the same dose of medicine they had given us. When Canadians, who desire to go to the other side under contract to do skilled labour, are debarred from doing so, is it great hardship to the people of the United States that we should apply to them a similar restriction ? The hon. gentleman said there is no reason why we should exclude from Canada a desirable, intelligent skilful class of Americans who wish to come here and engage in the development of manufacturing industries. Well, the law of Canada does not prevent any skilled workmen coming here. But what we do prevent is their coming in under contract, and we have a right to do this, at least until our hon. friend goes to Washington and persuades the Americans to remove the restrictions they now impose on Canadian workmen. I listened to tlie hon. gentleman's speech on the budget, and I find that in moving this Bill, he has forgotten what he then said. He then said :

If we propose to transfer manufacturing interests to this country as we are doing, and will do to a still greater extent if our tariff is changed in the direction of protection, it will he necessary in some cases to permit these American manufacturing interests to import skilled labour, and why we should impose this handicap in existing circumstances on our manufacturing interests I am at a loss to understand. It should be our aim and object to develop the resources of Canada, to increase its wealth in all lines of business in the country, and especially manufacturing interests.

Using the hon. gentleman's words, I am at loss to understand why, ' If we propose to transfer American manufacturing interests to this country, as we are doing and will do to a still greater extent if our tariff is changed in the direction of protection-*'

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LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

I want our manufacturers to be allowed to import skilled labour.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

If the hon. gentleman's contention be correct, if we want more protection, and if that would be the means of bringing in manufacturing interests from the United States, I ask him to be consistent.

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LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

Will they not have to bring their skilled labour ? Will they bring Dagoes here ?

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

This is nothing about the increasing of protection. Raising the tariff is the only means for that. It does not mean that the fact of skilled workmen coming into this country is going to increase our manufacturing interests. So I say the hon. gentleman (Mr. Chariton) is inconsistent in this, as he is in other lines. I do not wish to take up more time, for it is late. But I say, in the words of the hon. gentleman, skilled workmen would be biting off their noses to spite their faces if they allowed a Bill like this to pass the House. For the reasons I have stated, the only protection they have is to hold this present law until

the obnoxious section is removed from the law of the United States. And I would say, in conclusion, that if the hon. gentleman from North Norfolk is to be one of the Canadian commissioners at Washington, I would urge him to use his best efforts to have the United States authorities remove that section. So far as I am concerned as a Canadian, I shall be glad to support a measure of this kind after such action has been taken by the United States. I do not believe in legislation of this kind, but we are simply compelled to keep it on our statute-book to protect ourselves against the injustice of the American people at this particular time. I do not wish to occupy time at this late hour, so I move the adjournment of the debate.

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LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

I think it would be better to refer the Bill to the Committee of the Whole House, with the understanding that a motion shall be made that the committee rise and report progress. Then we can consider the Bill in committee. That was the understanding of the Minister of Justice.

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CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

Do I understand the hon. gentleman (Mr. Charlton) to say that the Minister of Justice has approved of this Bill ?

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LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

No ; I do not say he was opposed to it. What I say is that he suggested the course that I now propose, that the Bill pass its second reading and be referred to the committee, and that then the motion be presented that the committee rise and report progress, and leave the Minister of Justice to consider the Bill, and the Bill to be dealt with in committee.

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?

The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

I think it would be better to carry out the understanding that at the conclusion of the speech of the hon. member for East Elgin (Mr. Ingram) the debate should be adjourned. There are several hon. gentlemen who wish to speak on the main question. Wre should not make progress at this late hour by continuing the discussion.

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May 4, 1903