May 6, 1903

CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

Then I beg the hon. gentleman's pardon. I understood him to say that the present strike in Montreal was caused by the presence of foreign agitators in the country.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

It was the member for Centre Toronto (Mr. Brock) who said that.

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LIB

Joseph Israël Tarte

Liberal

Hon. Mr. TARTE.

I rise, as a newspaper man, to enter my protest against the statement of the hon. member for Vancouver (Mr. Smith). He said that the newspapers

are always anxious to record the misdeeds of the workmen. Let me tell him at once that the newspapers have worked more harmoniously with the labour unions than with any other class of the community. In the printing office with which my name is connected there are as a rule about 250 men employed, and all or nearly all of them belong to labour unions, and we never have any trouble with them.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

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LIB

Joseph Israël Tarte

Liberal

Hon. Mr. TARTE.

Nearly all the newspapers in Canada are employing union men. They are skilled tradesmen and 1 am proud to say that there is no class of men who give less trouble than the members of the Typographical Union. Suppose, for instance, that one of them gets on a spree and he is dismissed, there is no trouble over it and no objection made. I make this statement to correct the wrong impression which possibly may have been created in the minds of some hon. gentlemen here, that when union men are employed in an office or a shop, they are masters. That is not the case. One of my hon. friends near me, before I rose, asked me to state what I understood by the recognition of the union. It means undoubtedly that when you have admitted a labour union in your establishment, you must work with them; they work with you, and you must work with them.

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CON
LIB

Joseph Israël Tarte

Liberal

Hon. Mr. TARTE.

The question has been asked whether we are not in a free country; in other words, whether free labour, labour which is not connected with labour organizations, could not be employed along with union labour. I read a day or two ago a report of a meeting that took place in the month of December last in New York under the auspices of the National Civic Federation, of which Senator Hanna was the president. At that gathering the whole question was discussed very thoroughly. The contention of the labour unions to-day is that the individual workingman has no right to sell his labour outside of the union. I read that argument in very able speeches delivered by Mr. Gompers and by Mr. Keefe, who is president of the Longshoremen's Union. Their contention is that in these days of progress and of vast organizations of capital, the right of the labourmen to organize is as large and as broad as the right of capital, and that the individual workingman, selling his labour outside of the labour organizations, causes damage and injury to organizations that should be recognized as being for the best advantage of the country in which they exist. As my hon. friend from Vancouver (Mr. Smth) says, there are two sides to this important question, and the sooner we recognize that fact the better, both from the labour standpoint and the capital standpoint. There is no use of denying to the workingmen the

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right of forming themselves into organiza-'tions. Capital is forming organizations, and we do not on that account denounce capital. Labour has the same right, and I verily believe, after having tested the labour organizations on a pretty large scale, that if the owners and managers of large establishments would grapple with the question without any prejudice; if they would realize that in a country like this where industries are growing bigger every day the masses employed must grow bigger every day ; if they would make up their minds to the fact that labour men have families, and that they have duties to perform to those families, that they have rights to protect; if they would recognize that there are two sides to this important question ; the labour problem would be solved without much difficulty. I have not been made acquainted with the cause of the difficulty in Montreal,

I fully realize the delicacy of the situation in which the government are placed ; but all the same I am not sure but my hon. friend from Toronto is to a large extent right in asking the hon. Minister of Labour, if not to-day, as soon as possible, to take the House into his full confidence. This is a question in which the whole country is interested ; parliament is sitting, and we have some right to advise, for after all the government is only a committee of the House ; I invite the hon. minister-perhaps it is not necessary for me to do so- to proceed as speedily as he can in the settlement of the difficulty, which is of national importance.

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LIB

William Forsythe McCreary

Liberal

Mr. W. P. McCREARY (Selkirk).

Mr. Speaker it would seem to me, from the statement made by the hon. member for the St. Lawrence division, Montreal (Mr. Bicker-dike), that it is a very small matter of contention between the parties. We have in the west many labour unions of various kinds on a firm footing. The city of Winnipeg is a city of unions, and my experience has been that where unions have been formed, they have been beneficial both to the employers and the workingmen. I have never known unions to work an injury, and I think the longshoremen of Montreal are quite justified in forming a union to better their condition. The hon. member for St. Lawrence said that the only point of contention was that the ship owners refused to recognize the union.

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Mr HEYD.

What do you understand by the phrase, * recognition of the union ' ?

Mr.McCREARY. That they will deal with the officers of the union in regard to wages and other matters.

Hon. Mr. HAG6ART. Does it not imply that they will employ none but those belonging to the union ?

Mr. McCREARY'. It does not necessarily imply that, unless the by-laws of the union so provide. The association which the hon. member for St. Lawrence belongs to is a Hon. Mr. TARTE.

union of the shippers of Montreal, which they have entered for their own benefit, for the purpose of charging proper rates of freight, getting proper rates of insurance, and so forth. Then the Manufacturers' Association-what is that but one of the greatest unions in Canada, and, so far as we are concerned in the west, one of the most tyrannical ? And yet we are told these longshoremen are not to form a union to protect themselves. There is another phase of this question which has been presented by the hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton), that is, that these unions have no right to import from the United States men who have had experience in the same line. If the hon. member for North Norfolk werq so particular about not making usel of Americans, we would not hear such long speeches from him, for he goes over to the states to get a good deal of his inspiration for these speeches. The Americans are coming to our country in large numbers, to work our mines and develop our prairies, and I do not think there will be much harm done if one or two come across to help the suffering longshoremen of Montreal to protect their own interests.

With regard to employing the military to suppress the unions, I am against that all the time. The moment you do that you are going to do an injury not only to the cause of labour, but to the militia system of Canada. I was speaking the other day to a man in Winnipeg, a member of a union, who had been at one time chairman of the Trades and Labour Council. He intimated to me that there were likely to be strikes. I remonstrated, saying I thought they were going a little too far. He said they were not. as prices of everything were so high that they needed higher wages. Then we proceeded to discuss the militia and its relation to the unions. He said the time was coming when men would have to choose between belonging to a union and belonging to the militia.

I asked him, ' What would you do in that case ? ' He said : 'I am an old soldier.

I was in the expedition to Manitoba under Lord Woiseley, I also served at the time of the rebellion in 1885, and I am still in the militia, but if I have to resign one or the other, I will resign the militia and not the union.' If that spirit gets into the militia of Canada, if a man becomes convinced that he cannot be a consistent union man and belong to the militia as will be the case if you persist upon calling on the militia to suppress^ strikes, that will disrupt this whole Dominion. I do not think it comes with good grace from men who belong to unions themselves to object to those poor longshoremen belonging to a union. We have union in every calling from the clergy down. We have unions among manufacturers, lawyers, doctors, and I am glad to know that the farmers in eastern Canada are forming an association. We have the

Grain Growers' Association in the west, and I hope that the farmers in this country will form a union and assert their rights. With regard to the influence of these unions, let me say that the manager of a large industrial concern in the United States told me it was much more satisfactory dealing with unions than with disorganized labour,-and some of the greatest corporations in that country want all their men to belong to a union. They find that there is less trouble dealing with the president of the union than with a mob of men. In my opinion it is the duty of the Minister of Labour to send his men down to deal with those shippers and endeavour to convince them that they should recognize the union or else this government will not protect them.

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Mr. O. B.@

HEYI) (South Brant). I do not desire to enter into a discussion on this question, but I would like to have a better definition of that phrase, ' The recognition of the union.' What does it mean ? Bach speaker gives it his own interpretation, and I would like the hon. minister to give us an authoritative definition of what the employees mean by it and what the employers understand by this term.

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LIB

Arthur Samuel Kendall

Liberal

Mr. A. S. KENDALL (Cape Breton).

I do not propose, Mr. Speaker, to say very much on this question, because I am not conversant with the details of the strike in Montreal, but shall content myself with a few general remarks. During a later period I shall probably bring before this House some measures dealing with that great question of the relations between capital and labour. I have the honour to represent a strong, labour, industrial county in this Dominion-a county that produces millions of tons of coal every year. Down there we have a labour union which we consider the very strongest in Canada. It is about 7,500 strong. And let me say that in the county of Cape Breton we have not had, for some eighteen or nineteen years, any serious disturbance between capital and labour. Why? Because the representatives of capital recognized that their best policy is to deal with organized men and not with a mob. I wish to point out-and I think that in saying this I have history on my side-that the capitalists of this country and all those who look ahead would do well to glance over the history of similar movements in Europe and Great Britain. We may make up our minds that we have to arrive at the point reached in Great Britain and Europe, and we had better take the easiest and not the hardest road to it. I.et me raise my humble voice to ask the employers of labour to consider this matter, because a storm is rising in this country. No man who has an eye in his head can fail to perceive that great difficulties are about to confront us, and it will be a serious matter for ns if we have to wade through the difficulties which agitated England and Scotland from 1840 to 1880. I

sincerely hope that the recognition of the union of workingmen will be facilitated by capital in this country, instead of thwarted, and in this way, more than any other, will be avoided difficulties such as we are now considering.

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Thomas Hay

Mr. H.

,T. LOGAN (Cumberland). I think that the question of discussion this afternoon is one of great importance. My hon. friend who has just spoken (Mr. Kendall) has told us that a storm is no doubt brewing in this country. Every day we bear capitalists say that the labour question is the most dangerous one ahead of us in this country at present, and that it is rendering unsafe the investment of capital. At the same time we must recognize that the labouring man has the same right to unite with his brother labourers as the hon. member for Centre Toronto (Mr. Brock) has to unite with his brother manufacturers in the Manufacturers' Association. The attempt to shut out labour unions in Canada would lead to civil war and could never succeed. Calling out the militia is, of course, the last resort, and should only be done to secure the peace of pie community and not to suppress a strike. The question before the House was brought up by the hon. member for Jacques Cartier asking the government if they proposed to pay the city of Montreal a portion of the cost of calling out the militia.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

X did not bring that question up at all. I asked the government what they were doing or intended doing in Montreal.

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CON

Thomas Chase Casgrain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CASGRAIN.

I am responsible for that question.

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LIB

Hance James Logan

Liberal

Mr. LOGAN.

Then it was my hon. friend from Montmorency who put that question. I think that to do what my hon. friend asked! would be to set a dangerous precedent. I would ask the government if. there is a precedent of that kind ? We had a great labour struggle in the city of London only a few years ago, and the militia were called out to preserve the peace, but I do not think that the government of Canada were asked by that ambitious city to pay for the militia.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

There was the case of the town of Valleyfield. The government were asked to pay for the militia there, but I do not know what was done.

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LIB

Hance James Logan

Liberal

Mr. LOGAN.

I think that the government refused to accede to its demand.

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The PRIME MINISTER.

It was against the law,

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LIB

Hance James Logan

Liberal

Mr. LOGAN.

And. as my right hon. friend the Premier has said, it was against the law. We had a very serious strike in Toronto last year, and although that city is not slow in asking favours from this government, we never heard of it asking that this government should pay the militia.

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CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

The militia were doing their annual drill, but even then the city of Toronto had to pay them.

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May 6, 1903