May 6, 1903


House resumed debate on proposed motion of the Postmaster General (Hon. Sir William Mulock) for the second reading of Bill (No. 17) to aid in tlie settlement of railway labour disputes.


CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN (Halifax).

With respect to the Bill which has been introduced by the hon. the Minister of Labour, I may say in the first place that, even if the Bill is only an experiment, still I believe we ought to be willing to accept any experiment that offers any promise of useful results. I am bound to say, after hearing the explanation of tlie Minister of Labour, and after an examination of this Bill, that I cannot see that it does promise to produce any results that are likely to be of any advantage in allaying disputes between capital and labour in this country. It is a somewhat curious coincidence that since the establishment of the Department of Labour by this government a few years ago, we have really had a greater number of strikes, some of them very important ones, than I think we ever had before in the same period of time in the history of Canada. I concede at once that this condition of affairs in the country is such as to justify some action on the part of the government. It is suggested sometimes on the other side of the ftouse that this is a growing time. I may say to the Minister of Labour that since this department lias been instituted, it has been a growing time for strikes as well as for everything else. Now the first criticism which I would like to make on this Bill is that, if it is to be of any advantage at all,

I see no reason for restricting it to steam railways and street railways. My hon. friend" the Minister of Labour suggested that on account of the monopolistic character of the railways and street railways they should alone be included in this Bill.

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The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

No, not . on that account.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Well, my hon. friend made the remark in that connection. I could understand the argument if there was any remedy to be given by the Bill by which the government, could, as he said, in one part of his speech, take over these railways and operate them, and relieve the country from a serious situation induced bv a strike. If there was anything of that kind in the Bill, I could understand there would be some reason for restricting it. But. surely the Minister of Labour will agree with me that if there is to be any advantage derived from this Bill, it is an advantage which ought to be extended to any

other trade or business when affected by a strike. For example, if the provisions of this Bill are to be of any use, why should they not be extended to the condition of affairs that now unhappily prevails in the city of Montreal, where a strike is going on which is paralyzing a very important branch of business in that port. There is nothing in the provisions of the Bill which would not make it as much applicable to that condition of affairs as to any strike upon a railway or street railway. ,

Then there is another suggestion which I would like to make. Does this Bill accomplish anything that cannot be accomplished under existing legislation ? If it does, I would like to know what it is. I would like my hon. friend to consider that: What is there that you can do under this Rill that you cannot do as well at present ? My hon. friend may say that you cannot appoint a board of arbitration. What is the use of appointing a board of arbitration unless the parties in the first instance will agree to accept its award, or are bound bv law to accept the award after it is made Mr. Speaker, I am not suggesting at the present time that we should pass a law providing for compulsory arbitration, but I am merely pointing out that a law of this character 'seems to me to be absolutely useless and may possibly be detrimental because it will result in nothing. The hon. Minister of Labour says that we may thereby have an inquiry. Is he not at the present time making an inquiry in British Columbia by means of a royal commission in regard to the labour situation there ? Cannot he get every opportunity for making an inquiry from the legislation in existence that he could possibly get from this Bill ? He may say that he cannot get a board of conciliation. He can get a board of conciliation under the Act passed two years ago, and I would like to ask the hon. Minister of Labour whether or not any action has ever been taken in the establishment of boards of conciliation under that Act, or whether any advantage in so far as establishing these boards of conciliation is concerned has ever resulted from the passing of that Act. Then, if he is not able to answer in the affirmative, it must be doubtful whether he can expect any advantage to result from the provisions which he is now proposing to this House ? If he wants a board of conciliation, if he wants intervention between capital and labour, can he not have it under the Act passed two years ago, or can he not have it by the intervention of the Deputy Minister of Labour, who. I believe, from everything I have seen of his work, is a very capable and efficient officer? If he cannot accomplish that by the board of conciliation which he established two years ago what is he going to accomplish by this Bill ? In the first place, under this Act, if a strike is threatened, or is in progres, he establishes a board of con-

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ciliation and the board of concilia tion proceeds to negotiate. This negotiation can be carried out under the boards of conciliation that we have already under the Act of two years ago or it can be carried on by the very capable officer who is acting as the Deputy Minister of Labour. Well, the hon. Minister of Labour might say in addition that after you have gone through all that red tape- because there is a great deal more machinery about this Bill than anything else-after you have gone through all that red tape of establishing, first, your board of conciliation it is, if I understand the provisions of the Bill, open to you to establish a board of arbitration which would take upon itself the duty of making an inquiry and making some award in respect to the difference. What would be the advantage of that ? The hon. Minister of Labour admits, as the fact is, under the provisions of this Bill, that when the award is made it may be absolutely disregarded by either one or both of the parties. What would you have accomplished ? The hon. minister will say that you would have accomplished something by your inquiry. You can make your inquiry now as he is doing in British Columbia, you can have your board of conciliation under his Act of two years ago and you can accomplish under this Bill nothing that you cannot accomplish as conditions stand at the present time. It would seem to me that it would be very much better for the hon. Minister of Labour to devote his energies to some practical purpose, not to the establishment of a tribunal whose award might be disregarded by both parties, a tribunal which may not be attended by either of the parties because there is nothing in his Bill to compel either of the parties to attend, there is no penalty placed on either of the parties for not attending this board of arbitration-a tribunal which if once appointed may be left alone in its glory to make an inquiry without either of the parties paying the slightest attention to it. Under these circumstances no possible good can result. If the hon. minister would devote his attention to some practical scheme by which both parties might be brought into agreement for the purpose of arranging to be bound by the award of some tribunal I think in that way he would accomplish some result in the end by reason of the fact that both parties had agreed to be bound by the award of the tribunal. In establishing this tribunal under the forms of law, but whose award is not sanctioned by law and which cannot have the sanction of law to enforce it, are you not really putting an obstacle in the way of an agreement between the parties to be bound by the tribunal ? If you can get capital and labour to come together and agree that they will be bound by the award of a certain tribunal you have accomplished something, because I believe that Mr. BORDEN I Halifax}.

when capital and labour have entered into an agreement of that kind they will abide by the result. If instead of doing that you simply ask these people to attend before a tribunal that they may absolutely ignore and if you permit that tribunal in the absence of one or both of the parties possibly, to make an award, you are going through a mere form in the end, and how are you going to accomplish anything in that way for the settlement of disputes between capital and labour ? I do not regard this measure of the hon. Minister of Labour as one that is likely to produce satisfactory results, or, in fact, any results at all. I think it is a measure that will have about the same end, so far as practical results are concerned, as the measure which he introduced two years ago in regard to establishing boards of conciliation. In these questions at issue between capital and labour you must very largely have regard to public opinion, and I suppose the hon. minister is looking to the force of public opinion to enforce the award. But, I think in this he is starting at the wrong point. I think the time to invoke public opinion is when you are seeking to bring the parties into an agreement for the purpose of having an award made which both will submit to when it is once made; but I think if you invoke the force of public opinion to enforce an award after it is once made, after the inquiry has been made (it may be ex parte), you are expecting too much if you anticipate therefrom any very great results. These, Mr. Speaker, are the very brief criticisms' which I would make of the Bill in its present form and at the present time. We may be justified in making an experiment of this kind which has been proposed by the hon. minister who has evidently devoted some thought and considerable attention to the subject, but I say from my own brief consideration of this Bill, and looking at what lias been accomplished by the somewhat similar provisions of the Bill introduced two years ago, that I for one would not anticipate any very great results from it, and I would think that possibly it might si a nd in the way of obtaining agreements between capital and labour to be bound by arbitration. I do not think that legislation can possibly do a great deal in matters of this kind, at all events, in the diiection in which the hon. minister is moving. You cannot by force of legislation, compel any man to wTork for a wage which he is not willing to accept, and you cannot by force of legislation compel any man to give a higher wage than that which he is willing to pay. You have to deal with matters of this kind, I admit, very delicately, but you have to deal with them wisely with tlie view of arriving at an agreement as early as possible in the history of the problem which presents itself to the government for solution, and I would think that the

object of legislation would be to bring about as early as possible some agreement between capital and labour-perhaps you cannot go farther than that at present-some agreement between capital and labour whereby the differences which lead to strikes and riots and difficulties of that kind can be submitted to some tribunal the award of which both parties would agree to observe. If you accomplish that by legislation, or if you take a step towards the accomplishment of that, then you have accomplished a very great thing, but it does not seem to me, with all deference to the views of the hon. minister, that the legislation which he has now introduced into this House is legislation which is calculated to bring about any such useful results as those which he anticipates.

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IND

Arthur W. Puttee

Independent Labour

Mr. A. W. PUTTEE (Winnipeg).

I look upon the Bill which is before the House as being practically an extension of the Conciliation Act, and looking at it in that light,

I think we can make up our minds that it will not do any harm whatever. At all events, the Conciliation Act cannot be charged with having caused one strike in the country since it was put on the statute-book.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Would the hon. gentleman think it much of a compliment to the Conciliation Act which was designed to prevent strikes, to say, that it had not caused any strikes.

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IND

Arthur W. Puttee

Independent Labour

Mr. PUTTEE.

I do not. When the Conciliation Act was being passed in 1900 I expressed the opinion that it would not be very effective and that it would be far better for us to attempt something more radical. However, since the leader of the opposition has pointed out that during the last few years, in connection with the growing times strikes have also grown, it is perfectly fair for me to add that so far as the Conciliation Act is concerned it is not responsible for causing a solitary strike.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I did not suggest it did.

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IND

Arthur W. Puttee

Independent Labour

Mr. PUTTEE.

The Conciliation Act has been useful in closing up a good many disputes ; not more than I expected it would and in comparison with the number of strikes in the country very few indeed. I believe that such a voluntary Conciliation Act is necessarily limited to disputes that have grown! old, disputes which both sides are tired of, and disputes of trivial importance.

The BUI introduced last year was practically a compulsory arbitration Act. That Bill has been withdrawn and we may assume that the reasons given by the minister were sufficient cause for him withdrawing it. I agreed last year that the Bill instead of being passed into law should be submitted to the criticism of all parties in the country, and there is no doubt that it

was condemned, and condemned almost unanimously. I regret that, because most of the people in condeming it also condemned the principle of compulsory arbitration. I be-live that had that Bill of last year been more thoughtfully and carefully drawn, it would not have been so generally condemned. A number of organizations, however, made this distinction : they condemned the Bill but they did not condemn the principle of compulsory arbitration. For my part I am in favour of compulsory arbitration and I admit that in that respect I am not in entire touch with the majority of the labour men in this country. Since New Zealand put the Compulsory Arbitration Act into effect in 1890. I have carefully watched all the findings that have been made and all the operations of their various conciliation and arbitration boards, and up to the present time there has been no distinct set-back met with. It does look as if now they were coming to the first test. It is pointed out that these years have all been practically on a rising market, and the test of the Act has not yet come. But, Sir,

I notice that the Australian commissioner who went to New Zealand, after thoroughly investigating, reported to his government in such a way, that they have not only adopted the principle of compulsory arbitration, but that they have stricken out the conciliation part of the Act and adopted only the arbitration boards. These are in operation now in Australia. I believe that compulsory arbitration is far better than any process that has yet been Wed to do away with strikes. At the same time X must say that I do not think that public opinion in Canada is prepared for a compulsory arbitration measure.

I am thoroughly convinced myself that it is the proper method and why I stay with it now is because my experience is that strikes are a loss to the labouring men themselves ; that the defeats are too disastrous and that the victories are too dearly bought. I am aware. Mr. Speaker, that we have more strikes to-day than ever we had before. In the last few years the number of sWkes has been increased and in the years to come the number will increase. We are not on the threshold of a period of peace in the matter of industrial disputes. Probably this is the outcome, first, of the combinations of capital that preceded the combinations of labour, but at all events we can rest assured that there will be more strikes in the future than there have been in the past. That is why I believe we should go to the full extent that public opinion will let us go. to try and provide for the proper arbitration or conciliation of those disputes that are bound to occur.

I am quite in sympathy with the leader ot the opposition when he asked why this principle of compulsory investigation should only apply to the railways. Last year I introduced a Bill to amend the Conciliation Act. and for that matter I have introduced

it again in this session,-although I fear it will suffer the same fate of not being called when the Minister of Labour is in his seat. My Bill to amend the Conciliation Act includes the principle of this Bill we are now discussing as regards railway labour disputes, but I believe that the principle should be made general. Probably it would not affect a number of the smaller disputes, but we have had as many mining strikes almost as railway strikes and they were just as disastrous I believe. It seems to me that this principle should be applied to strikes in large factories, because public opinion in these matters is just as effective as in connection with railway matters. Most of our mining strikes and most of our big factory strikes hinge between those representing the unions and the manager ; one manager. I believe that if there was compulsory investigation and the whole facts were ascertained and the findings made and published, that probably in most cases the directors and the shareholders of the companies would get a better grasp of the matters in dispute between their own manager and the employees. I quite think that it would be just as effective in settling disputes of this kind as in settling railway disputes. Now, in my Bill there was one section which does not appear in this Bill, and I submit that it contains a very material provision. The absence of the idea of it from the Bill of last year, brought forward very general condemnation of that Bill. I may state, Mr. Speaker, that the compulsory arbitration principle as operated in New Zealand and Australia does not attempt to arbitrate between the individual and the employer. It arbitrates between two organizations, the organization of the workers and the organization of the employers. The weakness of the compulsory arbitration Bill of last year was that it only recognized the individuals. As this would lead to the disintegration of the labour organizations, very naturally and wisely they repudiated it. I urged that the Conciliation Act should recognize the principle of the labour organizations by having added to it another section, which would read as follows

In no case shall a conciliator or arbitrator stipulate, nor shall it be stipulated in any agreement promoted or recommended by a conciliator or arbitrator, that any employee shall relinquish his membership in any local, national or international trades union or labour association ; nor shall an agreement subject any employee to a penalty on account of such membership.

I believe the inclusion of such a section \\ ould in no way weaken the Act, but would to a tremendous extent create confidence in it. and in the good intention of this parliament in passing that Act. It is no use of this House or any employer any longer attempting to ignore the existence of trades unions. They are a fact and a factor in labour disputes, which must be recognized. The disputes that arise without them us-Mr. PUTTEE.

pally have very little merit in them. Men in this country as well as in other countries have been compelled by the very force of circumstances to organize, and rightly so; and to ignore the fact in any conciliation Act or arbitration proposal seems to me only to weaken the confidence of the people who are going to be affected by it. The Minister of Labour has explained to us that this Bill is acceptable to what are known as the big brotherhoods, the railway organizations-the engineers, the trainmen, the firemen, the conductors and the telegraphers. These organizations accept this Bill, because they believe it will not affect them at all; and in that belief they are right.

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CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

What is the good of the Bill, then, if it applies only to them and will not affect them ?

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IND

Arthur W. Puttee

Independent Labour

Mr. PUTTEE.

They state in their letter that they have not had a strike in the Dominion of Canada for ten years. That is very nearly correct. As a matter of fact, I believe the last strike was that of the railway telegraphers in 1895, eight years ago. The reason that these organizations have not had a strike for eight or ten years is that they are strong now. In the early days they were the very people who had the greatest number of strikes. They were then always in trouble. Every one of these organizations is an international organization. The reason that they have not had a strike for ten years is that they are strong, and the question of their recognition has been settled. They are recognized by the railway companies as a matter of course, and that means peace and harmony. The hon. member for West Toronto wants to know what will be the use of this Bill if it docs not affect these organizations. Well,

I believe, making a very generous estimate, that the five big brotherhoods comprise less than 20 per cent of the employees of the railways of this country. There are several other organizations with far greater membership than they have, which will be affected by this Act, which will have to put it to tlie test. For instance, there are the switchmen, the boiler-makers, the machinists. the firemen, the trackmen, the bridge-builders, the freight handlers, and a number of others. At least four-fifths of the employees of the railways will be affected by the Act, and most of their organizations are not yet recognized by the railway companies. If I might digress for a moment, I would like to explain what recognition means. Recognition in connection with trades organizations simply means the giving to the second party to a settlement or agreement the right to see that that settlement or agreement Is carried out; that is all it means. After a strike there is a settlement, or agreement. If the union is not recognized, there is no one to see on behalf of the employee that the conditions of the agreement in his favour are carried out. There-

fore to settle a strike without recognition of the union is simply to lose the strike, so far as the employees are concerned; but to settle the strike, with recognition of the union, means that the officers of the union or its committee represent the other side to the bargain. That is all there is in recognition. The large majority of the men who are going to be affected by this Bill are not the brotherhoods who have endorsed it, but the other organizations, the majority of which have not yet been recognized by the companies; and I submit that that fact makes the inclusion of the clause which I have read all the more necessary. Without that clause, I believe the Bill will be weak, but with it, it will be strong. Now, instead of our having a new Bill, I believe the Conciliation Act should be amended. But because things are not done in just the way we wish, w'e must assume that there is some reason why they are done in another way. I regret that we have not been taken into the confidence of the hon. Minister of Labour and been told what the reason is. I think this principle should be included in the Conciliation Act, so that we may find out whether there is any value in it, or whether we should substitute anything else for it.

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Mr. W. A.@

GALLIHER ' (Yale and Cariboo). Mr. Speaker, as a representative of a district where there are a number of organizations of railway employees, I feel that I should say a few words on this Bill, mere especially as I have been approached personally by members of those organizations, and have had forwarded to me resolutions relating to the Bill. Speaking personally,

I believe a compulsory arbitration law would be in the interest of both employers and employees. However, I found an objection to such a measure on the part of the unions of railway employees. The chief difficulty seemed to be in the formation of the tribunal of arbitrators. They seemed also to think that the measure struck at the union to a certain extent. In this respect I am merely expressing what they said to me, not offering my own opinion. As this Bill was originally introduced by the hon. Minister of Labour last session, it provided for compulsory arbitration and copies were widely distributed for the consideration of those more particularly affected. In my district, the unions were opposed to the measure for the reasons I have stated. Then there was a second drafting of that Bill which was also objectionable, but in the present Bill these objections are removed by certain sections. I may say that I received resolutions asking me to oppose the Bill as introduced last session and as drafted the second time, but the gentlemen who represents in Ottawa the interest of the railway employees of Canada-at least he so assured me and I put faith in liis assurance-went over the Bill with me very carefully, and he instructed me that the Bill as now drafted is satisfactory to railway employees. He also showed me letters which he had written to the unions, which had forwarded their protest against the measure, not as now submitted, but as drafted in the second place. At all events, lie showed me the letters he had written, pointing out how the objections had been removed by certain clauses in the Bill uow before the House, and assured me that it was satisfactory,-and I have received no further instructions to oppose it. I do not agree in the opinion of the hon. leader of the opposition that this Bill is practically useless. Although there is no provision to enforce any award, there is a provision for compulsory investigation. In the case of a dispute, the employees should have no objection to the facts being made public and thoroughly investigated, so that the public may understand the points in dispute, nor should the employers have any objection to an investigation being had and being made public. Such being the case, this Bill, if it does nothing else, -will have the effect of placing the matters in dispute before the public so that the public may judge who is in the right, and either party to the dispute will no doubt be very anxious to have the public opinion in their favour. There will at all events be the moral suasion of public opinion, and the ultimate success of either party will no doubt depend considerably on the verdict of the public. For those reasons I propose to vote in favour of this Bill.

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Mr. W. R. BROOK@Toronto Centre

I did expect, Mr. Speaker, that we were going to have a Bill presented to us on this important question which would have some backbone in it. But instead we have a Bill which really amounts to nothing. In a question of this kind, we should not forget that there are two parties to the dispute. There is organized capital on the one side 'and organized labour on the other. In this Bill, we have provisions dealing with a corporate capacity, which can be attacked in the law courts, and from which damages may be exacted. I refer to the railway companies. But the other party affected by this measure and which is described in the Bill as 'labour,' is a body which occupies an entirely different position. No doubt, what is meant by the word ' labour ' is organized labour, organized up to a certain point, and the most cowardly kind of organization-one that can attack capital but cannot be attacked in return. It seems to me that the first thing organized labour should do, if they want to be respected, is to organize under the laws of the country and place themselves in the same position as other organizations which we have incorporated. But they refuse to come under the law and are in the cowardly position of having neither a body to be kicked nor a soul to be damned. We are placing capital in a most unfair position. I do not

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stand here as the representative, in any shape, of organized capital, hut as a Canadian anxious to see fair piny and fair dealings, and I think that my hon. friends, like my hon. friend from Winnipeg (Mr. Puttee), are also anxious that there should he some fairness in the legislatiou we pass. This Bill is most unfair. The very fact of its being so flimsy, the very fact of their being so little in it, makes it all the more objec-. tionable because when a Bill of this kind becomes law, that is the end of it. We are told this evening that international organized labour is an advantage to this country. The advantage to this country, under our existing laws, is that labouring men can go to tlie other side and get protection. We are very anxious on this side of the House that that matter should take a different turn and that we should be able to hold out inducements to these organized labour gentlemen to come to this country aud be protected. We are anxious to give them the same protection here as they get on the other side, but I do not notice that the hon. member for Vancouver (Mr. Smith) and the hon. member for Winnipeg (Mr. Puttee) are supporting the policy of tlie opposition in this House-a policy which would place us in a better position to deal with labour and industries as they are dealt with on the other side of the line. Tlie government should legislate for protection, not only for labour but for capital and industry in this country, and not bring down a Bill of this kind^ that has nothing in it. The only inducement to pass a measure of this kind is to be found in clause four :

It shall be the duty of the conciliation committee to endeavour by conciliation and mediation to assist in bringing about an amicable settlement of the difference to the satisfaction of both parties, and to report its proceedings to the minister.

That is the whole thing in connection with this Bill. Well, we have that already. I do not see that yon are going to put any more strength Into it, or that you are going to place this Dominion of Canada in any better position to deal with conditions on the other side of tlie line by passing this Bill. Indeed, I think we shall be in a worse position, for we shall have made a pretense or an appearance of doing something while really doing nothing. Now, Sir, these labour strikes do not take place in this country of their own accord. There must be some motive power, some spirit in them ; and that motive power and that spirit I assert again, notwithstanding what has been said on both sides of the House, comes from forces antagonistic to Canada on tlie other side of the line. Why should the port of Montreal be crippled at the present time ? Simply because an endeavour is being made on this side of the line to provide a system of transportation by which the produce of this country will reach Europe through Canadian channels. I can understand New York Mr. BROCK.

and Boston using all the means that are in their power to block the city of Montreal and the city of Quebec as much as they possibly can. How can they block them ? Simply by promoting a system of strikes such as that taking place at the present time in Montreal.

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CON

Jean-Baptiste Morin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MORIN.

Or by destroying the Welland canal.

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CON

William Rees Brock

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BROCK.

Exactly. We know, Mr. Speaker, that, a few years ago, thinking that one of our vulnerable points was tlie Welland canal, men came over here in tlie interest, not altogether of the United States, but in the interests of disorganized labour in the United States, to blow up the locks of tlie Welland canal and so interrupt the transportation system of this country. Those who are standing for the improvement of our transportation system are being recognized in the United States as a force. So, organized labour is joined with organized hatred of Canada and Great Britain. For, make no mistake about it, that is the ease. We know what is going oil in the United States ; we know that there is a party there antagonistic to Canada ; we know from watching the debates in Washington that one of the strongest arguments there against anything that looks like reciprocity is to tell them that this will result in benefiting Canada, and it is voted down by an overwhelming majority. We cannot shut our eyes to these facts, we must recognize them. Therefore, what we should have on this side is something strong, something well defined- not such an effeminate Bill as this now before us. We want something that will assert ourselves as a nation. We are told by one of the hon. gentlemen on the other side that he lias made this country a nation. Sir, we shall never make a nation with Bills of this kind. No one will respect them. We have heard the representatives of labour in this House, and even they are not satisfied with this Bill. And I am sure the country will not be satisfied with it. That is why I ask the government to withdraw this Bill and endeavour, at another session, to give us something stronger, something more manly, something more national. In this Bill we are dealing with disputes between railway companies and railway employees. The railway companies have capital to be attacked. You can bring them into court, get judgments against them and collect damages from them. But, on the other side, you have an organization which is no organization when you come to attack them. They simply scatter into fragments. You cannot sue them, you cannot collect damages from them, you cannot bring pressure upon them to make them amenable to the laws of the country. In the city of Montreal to-day damages to the extent of hundreds of thousands of dollars have been done by organized labour. What relief can we get ? If organized labour is in the wrong,

can we attack them ? If we sue them and get verdicts, from whom are we to collect damages ? This is a matter which should be taken hold of in a statesmanlike way.

I stand here regardless of what effect all this may have upon the voting power of this country. We should do what is right, regardless of that power. The very votes that we pander to are the votes that will turn against us if we show weakness. That has been so in the past, and will be found to be true in the future. I ask the government to bring down something stronger, something more manly, something more national than we have in this Bill.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. S. SPROULE (East Grey).

It seems to me that there is very little difference between this Bill and chapter 24 of the Statutes of 1900, the last Conciliation Act. The only difference that I can see is in reference to the parties to whom it may apply. The Bill passed in 1900 applies where difficulty exists or is apprehended between an employer or any class of employer and the workmen, while the other Bill applies to disputes between railway employers and their employees. I do not know what interpretation a member of the legal profession would put upon it, but it seems to me that the first Bill might apply to railways as well as to any other department of industry. Is it not a fact that, under the provisions of the Bill of 1900, the minister has himself already appointed the commissioners that are now inquiring into some labour troubles in British Columbia ?

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The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

I suppose the hon. gentleman (Mr. Sproule) is referring to the commission now sitting in British Columbia. That commission is appointed under chapter 114 of the Revised Statutes of Canada.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

It seems to me that it could equally well have been appointed under this Act of 1900, which has reference to the appointment of conciliation boards. The Act provides that the minister may :

(c) On the application of employers or workmen interested, and after taking into consideration the existence and adequacy of means available for conciliation in the district or trade and the circumstances of the case, appoint a person or persons to act as conciliator or as a hoard of conciliation ;

(d) On the application of both parties to the difference, appoint an arbitrator or arbitrators.

The report is made to the minister, and a memorandum of it kept. It provides also :

It shall be the duty of the conciliator to promote conditions favourable to a settlement by endeavouring to allay distrust, to remove causes of friction, to promote good feeling, to restore confidence, and to encourage the parties to come together and themselves affect a settlement and also to promote agreements between employers and employees with a view to the submission of differnces to conciliation or arbitration before resorting to strikes or lockouts.

The conciliator or conciliation board may, when deemed advisable invite others to assist them in the work of conciliation.

If, before a settlement is effected, and while the difference is under the consideration of a conciliator or conciliation board, such conciliator or conciliation board is of opinion that some misunderstanding or disagreement appears to exist between the parties as to the causes or circumstances of the difference, and with a view to the removal of such minunderstanding or disagreement, desires an inquiry under oath into such causes and circumstances, and, in writing signed by such conciliator or the members of a conciliation board, as the case may be, communicates to the minister such desire for inquiry, and if the parties to the difference or their representatives in writing consent thereto

*-The government may appoint commissioners to make the inquiry.

I take it that all this would apply equally well to railway employees as it would to employees in any other line. So it seems to me, all the' power that the minister would have under this proposed measure, he already has under the existing law. Perhaps my interpretation may not be exactly correct, but I notice that in his explanation of it, he himself tells us that the object is to aid the boards of conciliation in promoting the settlement of trade disputes and difficulties that arise from time to time between employers and employees, and that it is hoped that the affirmation of this principle may prevent strikes and lockouts. He goes on and explains it in that way. Then he refers to the English Bill of 1890. Long before 1896 the system was in force. Since then I think statistics show that six-sevenths of the disputes have been amicably settled by consent of the parties, either through a board of conciliation or by the parties themselves while the boards were in deliberation. The first Bill provides for conciliation boards and arbitration boards, the second Bill provides for the same thing. I see no difference except that the first Bill does not apply to railways, but it lays down provisions where the Act might be invoked, and which I think would enable the minister to take up railway disputes as well as any others. If that be so, then this Bill is unnecessary. Now the duty of the committee is set forth here. There is to be a conciliation board, mediation and investigation. That is conciliation and inquiry. Now what is the difference between investigation and inquiry ? Both have to report back to the minister ; neither have any authority to enforce their findings, and the dispute is left an open question.

It should be the duty of the conciliation committee to endeavour, by conciliation and mediation

The very same words as are employed in the other one.

-to assist in bringing about an amicable settlement of the difference to the satisfaction of both parties, and to report the proceedings to the minister.

Almost exactly the same words are used. So it seems to me this Bill is entirely unnecessary. Then it provides for a board of arbitration. But the only difference I can see between the board in the Act of 1900 and the board as proposed by this Act, is simply this, that in the old Act the minister may pay the members of the board what he thinks fit; in this case the members of the board get $10 each a day, and expenses. It is left to the minister how much he shall pay the chairman. It seems to me the only result of this Bill will be to give the minister an opportunity of employing a few more of his friends to act at $10 a day and expenses, to make an inquiry, or become a mediation commission. In this Act there is no provision for an arbitration, if I understand arbitration correctly. I have always understood that arbitration was an attempt to ascertain the differences between disputants, to adjust those differences and reach some conclusion. In this case no conclusion is reached, they only make an inquiry and report. Therefore in my judgment this might more appropriately be called a provision to appoint a commission of inquiry, than to appoint an arbitration commission. They have power to inquire into differences, only to inquire and report back to the minister. Now I do not know whether the first Act would give powers to the commission of inquiry to deal in the same way with railway companies and their employees as it does with other companies and "their employees, but I think it does. If it does, there is no need for this Act because it is practically the same as the other.

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CON

Edmund Boyd Osler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. E. B. OSLER (West Toronto).

It seems to me a very unwise thing to put on the statute-book an Act that is of no use, and can be of no use. Now when the minister introduced his Labour Bill last year he used these words :

Although this is hardly the occasion for any. lengthened observations, still, as the measure is somewhat novel, perhaps a few words now would not he out of place. I would say that the proposition is in effect one of compulsory arbitration between railway companies and their employees in regard to the various subjects of controversy that from time to time arise between these parties. The measure is confined entirely to the railway world, it does not deal with any other than railway industries.

Now since last year the minister has found that there is a strong objection to compulsory arbitration. I will not say now whether I agree with compulsory arbitration or not. A year ago when the minister brought in this Bill, there may have been a general feeling that compulsory arbitration had been successful in Australia, and especially in New Zealand. There can be no possible object in a Bill of this kind unless it has power to do something. This Bill has no power to do anything. It has power to get certain information In connection with certain railway strikes, but the only final power it has Mr. SPROULE.

is to make a report, and that report shall be published at the country's expense in the ' Labour Gazette.' There is no power to compel either sides to agree to an arbitration. There is no reason, under such a Bill, why either party to a dispute should refer their case to such a tribunal. We have an instance of this in what was called the arbitration board of the board of trade, in Toronto, which was copied, I think, from a scheme of the board of trade in England. After a great deal of trouble had been experienced on the part of members of the board of trade in various cities, a board of arbitration was appointed which it was thought would result in doing away with the heavy legal expenses which arose when disputes occurred between members of the board of trade, principally in connection with grain operations. It was thought the disputes might be referred to this tribunal, and so save large legal expenses. I think I am right in saying that this board of conciliation, or this board of arbitration, has been an absolute failure. When a man wants to get a dispute settled, Instead of going to his friends in the board of trade, he goes straight to law, where he can get a decision and pay the costs of it, which sometimes amount to more than the award he gets.

Another weakness in this Bill is that it is confined to railway disputes. Now how can we define railway disputes ? We have to-day, perhaps, the most serious strike that has existed in Canada, in the case of the dock labourers in Montreal. I would ask the Minister of Labour whether, under this Bill, he can call upon these dock labourers to arbitrate their disputes, and publish the result of that arbitration in the 'Labour Gazette.' I do not think he can, if I read the Bill aright. This Bill takes power to arbitrate strikes of the most trivial character between street railway companies and its employees, in a town of five or six thousand inhabitants ; but it ignores entirely the larger interests connected with railways. This Bill is brought in with the idea of adjusting railway disputes, but it does not provide for arbitrating disputes between teamsters and their employers in any of the large cities of Canada. It is narrowed to a small section of labour, it absolutely has no power and I contend that it can do nothing but bring about soreness and friction between the parties who are supposed to be parties to the arbitration which may be held under the Bill.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. A. B. INGRAM (East Elgin).

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Labour (Hon. Sir William Mulock) stated that the railway organizations are perfectly satisfied with this Bill. If so, I feel that that entirely relieves me from making any suggestions to him towards perfecting the Bill. What I arose specially to say was this : Some very hard things have been said about the or-

ganizations that this legislation is supposed to specially affect, and I feel that I would not be doing my duty if I did not come to their defence, especially as I believe such remarks as have been made were not called for and should not have been applied to the organizations that this Bill affects. First, I will say, that the Order of Railway Conductors of this country, known as the O.R.C., have for a great many years had a special clause in their constitution that strictly forbids strikes to take place under the auspices of this organization. That proves conclusively that this organization are not in favour of strikes and that they would not allow any of their members to engage in -strikes. The organization is composed of men of good common sense, who endeavour to reason out with the railway companies any question at issue and to obtain in that way the rights which they think they should have as servants of the railway companies. These men perform a very useful work in this country. They have an insurance fund in connection with their organization and they are doing their utmost to supply the railways with good, capable, efficient men, men who are not inclined to strike or to create difficulties with the railway companies. In other words, they have a very conservative organization, and they do not care to take part in any strike whatever. So far as the organization of locomotive engineers is concerned, it is conducted largely on the same lines. I cannot undertake to say that the locomotive engineers have nothing in their constitution preventing their members from engaging in strikes, but knowing the conservative head of their organization, Mr. Arthur, by reputation, who is not a Canadian, but who resides on the other side of the line, and who has been at the head of the locomotive engineers for a great many years. I know that he has always taken the stand that the locomotive engineers should not engage in strikes of any kind whatever if at all possible to prevent it. They are entirely opposed to them, though, I presume, at times they are compelled to join in them. The other organizations to which this Bill applies, I know, look upon the question of strikes in the same light. None of these men are connected with cowardly organizations as has been said. They are connected with what I believe to be good organizations and organizations that will not be a detriment to the people of the country in any way whatever. In so far as this legislation is concerned and the legislation introduced into this House last year, I will undertake to say-I may be mistaken-that the very organizations that this Bill specially affects and the Bill of last year specially affected were not the parties who asked for legislation of this kind in the sense in which it has been given to them. They did not ask to be specially legislated for ; if there SI

was legislation brought down to this House, they did not ask that any exclusive privilege should be accorded them over any other class of workingmen. They did not ask to be specially selected as the only workingmen to whom legislation of this kind should apply. I am not aware of the railway men ever making such a demand exclusively, but finding that legislation was introduced into this House last year that they as an organization took very strong objection to, the hon. minister will bear me out when I say that during the recess between last session and this session, a deputation of railway employees met the hon. minister with the view of presenting their objections to the legislation he introduced last year. As a result of that conference between the railway employees and the hon. minister the Bill of last year was entirely abandoned and this Bill is introduced now. I. take it that the railway employees believe that the government were bound to bring down legislation of this kind, and that being the case, they made efforts to have a Bill introduced that would be less objectionable than the Bill of last year. Is there anything unreasonable, wrong or cowardly about that on the part of these men ? I think not. We are here' to legislate for all classes of the community in this country. We are not here to specially legislate for any particular class or to grant any'particular class of legislation. We are here to endeavour to legislate in the interests of the whole people without doing any injury to any class of people. From my connection with railway men in this country, I may say that a large portion of them are as conservative as the remarks I have just made at this moment They do not want anything of a special character, they do not want anything that will injure any other class of the community; all they want is reasonable and fair legislation granted to them as it is granted to other classes of the community. So far as this Bill is concerned it may be that there are some very objectionable features in it, but, at all events, let them be as objectionable as they may, they are extremely mild, as the hon. member for Toronto (Mr. Clarke) has said, and being extremely mild, I cannot see how they are going to injure any other class of the community. Now, it is held in some parts of Australia in particular that where organizations ask for legislation and where they step in to have an arbitration with their employers, they should be incorporated the same as railway companies and the same as manufacturing industries, and that being incorporated, if they fail to carry out any agreement which they have made they will be just as responsible as the employers of labour

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May 6, 1903