May 17, 1904

CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

If it is in the statute, we have access to it. But if it is in the contract, it would be well to have the contract before us, so that we can see exactly what it does provide.

At six o'clock, committee took recess.

After Recess.

Committee resumed at eight o'clock.

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Mr. MAOPHERSON@

Mr. Chairman, when you left the chair at six o'clock the subject under discussion was the amendment of the hon. member for Victoria (Mr. Earle) regarding the employment of Chinese on the Pacific division of the Grand Trunk Pacific. I may say that the hon. gentleman who presented this motion has shown very little consistency during his political life, so far as the employment of Chinese is concerned. He has shown little or no consistency as a business man, so far as the employment of Chinese is concerned. I believe it is advisable, when we want to carry legislation into effect that we ourselves should live as nearly as possible in accordance with the legislation we desire to see prevail. I should not think it right, if I were an employer of Chinese, particular l.v if I were an employer of any considerable number of Chinese, to rise on this floor and

present a motion that would prevent another man from employing that class of labour.

I believe the hon. gentleman who presents this motion was a railway contractor himself, and built a considerable portion of the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway. I shall stand corrected if I am wrong, for I do not wish to misrepresent the case, but 1 believe that in the building of that road the hon. gentleman was a very considerable employer of Chinese labour-that, practically, the Chinese built that part of the road for which the hon. gentleman had the contract. And now he comes and asks us to support a motion to stop another citizen from employing the Chinese in the same manner of work.

' Consistency, thou art a jewel ! ' The hon. gentleman has been in this House from 1891 until the present time. Yet I do not think he has ever, from his place in this parliament, even when he had the honour of sitting to the right of the Speaker, and when he had influence with the government, raised his voice in defence of the white labourers of British Columbia, or made any effort to protect them against the hordes of Chinese that formerly came in under Conservative legislation. I have looked into the debates of the House, and have failed to find any record of that kind. The hon. gentleman was here supporting the people who brought in these Chinese, brought them in in hordes and advocated the bringing of them in. Away back in 1882, when it was a question of building the Canadian 'Pacific Railway, we find that hon. gentlemen who are now so loud in their declarations that no Chinamen should be employed in any other road, first created the evil that they now tell us is to be deplored. This, in my opinion, is death-bed repentance. I may tell those hon. gentlemen opposite who do not know the public opinion in British Columbia as well as my hon. friend from Victoria knows it, that the Conservative party have never shown any desire to pro tect the white men in British Columbia. We did not expect, and never can expect, any defence at the hands of the Conservative party, so far as anti-Chinese or anti-Oriental legislation is concerned. ' By their fruits ye shall know them.' We can judge these hon. gentlemen only by their acts. Now that there is no chance of Chinamen coming into the country, now that the tax of $500 imposed by this government effectually stops the influx of this undesirable foreign element, these hon. gentlemen solemnly rise and say that no Chinaman must be employed in the building of the Grand Trunk Pacific. Why is this done ? Is it done to help tha people in British Columbia ? Not at all. These hon. gentlemen are only using this question as a political football. But when the hon. gentleman (Mr. Earle) goes back to Victoria, the question that he will have to face is whether he is for or against the building of this Grand Trunk Pacific. That is Mr. MACPHERSON.

the line of demarcation between the Liberal party in power to-day and the Conservative party out of power. The iLiberal party says it will build the road, irrespective of what may happen, believing it is a good thing for the country. The Conservatives say they will not have the road, irrespective of what may happen, because they claim it is not a good thing for the country. After all, it is for what he has done in opposing this great enterprise that the hon. gentleman will have to answer ; it is for that he will be called to account. He cannot draw a red herring across the trail by an amendment of this kind. As an employer of Chinese, whether as a railroad contractor or in cannery propositions, he cannot win the favour of the people of British Columbia by now taking the position indicated by this amendment. It is not enough for employers of Chinese to make broad their phylacteries in this House and say to others : Do not employ the

Chinese. The people of British Columbia know that if it had not been for the Conservative party we would not have had these hordes of Asiatics as a menace to the welfare of the whites in that province. For my part. I have always been against the influx of Chinese. I neither employ them nor have anybody about me who does employ them. That is my record, and as long as I stand on that ground my skirts are pretty clean. But the man who does employ them should be the last to present a motion such as this. For my part, I would not single out the Chinese ; I would go further, and say that no man who is not a British subject, no man who cannot become a Canadian citizen, should be allowed to participate in any work toward which the money of the public is given. I would provide that any railroad receiving public aid for its construction or maintenance should not be allowed to employ aliens-I would say not only Chinese or Japanese, but aliens of any class. I believe that we have a government that will bring in a Bill to that effect, because this government is the government that brought in a Bill for a tax of $500 on Chinese, which, I say, has effectually stopped the importation of Chinese into our country. But hon. gentlemen from British Columbia who get up and say, do not employ Chinese, when they themselves have been all along habitual employers of Chinese can hardly claim to be consistent, and will be certainly called to account by the people. I will support the amendment, of course. The hon. gentleman knows very well that I will do so.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Oh, oh.

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LIB

Robert George Macpherson

Liberal

Mr. MACPHERSON.

Some hon. gentleman says I have put my foot in it. Well, if I have, I am quite prepared to stand the consequences of any mistakes I make in the line of conduct I am pursuing. Any

amendment which will prohibit the employment on a public work of anybody who is not or cannot become a citizen of our country shall receive my hearty and unqualified support.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

I have listened carefully to the hon. gentleman from Burrard (Mr. Macpherson) and I am sure I cannot congratulate him on his consistency. He finds fault with my hon. friend from Victoria (Mr. Earle) for making this amendment, on the ground that that hon. gentleman is not consistent. The hon. member for Burrard does not see the difference between a private citizen and a railway company or contractor who is spending money granted by the public for the carrying out of a public project. The private citizen is spending his own money, not the people's money, and is at liberty to employ whomsoever he chooses, so long as he does not bring in alien labour under contract. But, in the case of this railway, the people of Canada are paying vast sums of money Jor it as a public work, and my hon. friend from Victoria, speaking on behalf of the people of British Columbia, declares it to be in the interest of the country, and of his own province particularly, that this amendment should carry, and that is the reason why he has introduced it. The hon. member for Burrard finds great fault with my hon. friend from Victoria on the ground of consistency. Has the hon. member ever thought of the government that he is supporting ? They talked free trade, but never granted it ; they talked economy, but! have spent more money than did the Conservative party that they condemned as extravagant. T)oes the hon. gentleman think that is consistent ? I would very much like to hear his opinion on that point and his explanation of how it is consistent in him to support such a government and yet find fault with a fellow member of this House on the ground of inconsistency. The Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding)) speaks of the Alien Labour Law and asks why we should ask to have this amendment introduced while that law is on the statute-book.

For the very reason that the Alien Labour Law is not carried out in this country ; its provisions are being violated day after day.

I understand that some hon. gentlemen opposite have an idea that the present law provides a cure for this, under section 205 of the Railway Act. I would like to hear any hon. gentleman who believes that, read section 205 and give reasons whv he believes that, it covers this point. I would like to have an explanation from some gen-tieman who believes he is capable of giving that explanation.

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CON

George Adam Clare

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARE.

I was not present this afternoon, when, as I understand the Minister i of Finance (Mr. Fielding) made the statement that he is going to insert a clause in '

this Bill to protect Canadian labour in the building of this railroad. I had prepared an amendment which I intended to introduce and which I shall read to the House. I shall ask the government to insert this clause in their Bill or to go even further than I have gone in the amendment. I may say that if they do not do so, I shall consider it my duty to bring in an amendment on the third reading of the Bill. I shall read the amendment to the House ?

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LIB
LIB

Peter Macdonald (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

It is not an amendment until it is read from the chair. The hon. gentleman is simply reading it.

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CON

George Adam Clare

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARE.

I am simply stating what I intend to do. The amendment is as follows :

In all cases where persons are employed in or in connection with the surveys for, or the construction of the said Transcontinental Railway preference shall be given to British subjects by birth or naturalization.

It shall be unlawful to employ any person in or in connection with the surveys for, or the construction of, the said Transcontinental Railway, or any part thereof, who is not a British subject by birth or naturalization, or who, being an alien, has not for one year immediately preceding such employment been a bona fide resident of Canada.

Provided always, that whenever it shall be made to appear to the satisfaction of the Minister of Labour that it is not possible to obtain labour for the construction of the said railway with reasonable dispatch owing to the restriction aforesaid with regard to the employment of labourers, it shall be lawful for the said, minister by order in writing, subject to the approval of the Governor in Council, to suspend for such time and on such terms and conditions as may to him seem reasonable in the premises the operation of the said restriction as to employment of labour for construction purposes only. And a copy of such orders of suspension shall be forthwith published in the ' Labour Gazette.'

For every violation of any of the provisions of this section the person, partnership, company or corporation violating it shall forfeit a sum not exceeding $1,000, nor less than $50, and a further sum of $50 for each and every day during which such unlawful employment shall continue.

The sums so forfeited may be sued for and recovered as a debt by any person who first bona fide brings his action therefor in any court of competent jurisdiction in which debts of like amount are now recovered.

If the government inserts such a clause as I understand the Finance Minister said he intended to insert, then I should be satisfied and I hope that the government will see fit to do this, but I wish to notify the government and the House that upon the third reading, I intend to move this amendment.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

Perhaps my hon. friend will permit me to correct a slight inaccuracy in the remarks he attributed to me, as he stated- that he was not in the House this afternoon. I did not say that the government

would Introduce into this Bill any amendment of the character indicated. I stated that the government were giving attention to the question on broader lines, and that their desire was that any legislation with that object in view should not be confined to this particular company, but should be general. Consequently, if my hon. friend (Mr. Clare) should move that amendment as applied to this particular company only, I am afraid we would not be able to agree with him. The view I presented to the House was that whatever might be done on this subject ought to be done generally, that the government were preparing legislation on this line. The legislation which we intend will be broader and will apply to other companies, while my bon. friend's proposal would apply to only one. The difference between what he attributes to me and what X said may not be material, but as he was not in the House, I thought it well to correct him.

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CON

George Adam Clare

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHARE.

I am sorry I made a statement that is not correct. We are about to spend an enormous amount of money of the people of Canada on this national Transcontinental Railway, and it seems to me that judging frcm the treatment which the government has given to the workingmen of Canada since the introduction of the Alien l.abour Law, we should not depend upon any general Bill which they may bring [DOT]down, but should insist that a clause be inserted in this particular Bill, so that we shall know that at any rate during the building of the Grand Trunk Pacific the labouring classes of Canada will be protected.

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IND

Arthur W. Puttee

Independent Labour

Mr. PUTTEE.

The proposed amendment which has just been read by the hon. member for Waterloo (Mr. Clare) will, I think, bring to the mind of the hon. member for Victoria (Mr. Parle) the fact that this is a very much better resolution than his somewhat crude amendment. It seems to me it would be inadvisable to insert his amendment. specifically stating in this Bill that Chinese will not be employed in the building of this line of railway. I do not think that amendment should be inserted, and I would not vote for any amendment that I was not willing to see become part and parcel of the Bill. If this were two or three years ago, when there was a limited tax upon Chinese, and Chinese were coming into the country, then there would be necessity for an amendment of this kind, but the Chinese question has been dealt with and fairly satisfactorily dealt with. There is now a $500 tax on Chinese coming into Canada and the result is the Chinese are not coming into Canada, and so long as the government sees that that law is properly and honestly enforced. I believe we shall not be further menaced by any large importation of Chinese. The Chinese who are in Canada to-day are bona fide residents of this country, and they are mot here in any larger numbers than some Mr. FIELDING.

other nationalities who have been brought in by other corporations and are to-day idle in this country. It does not seem to be reasonable or sensible to attempt to put in an amendment barring Chinese labour because that is simply misleading to the people who are not well informed and who still think that the Chinese question is a vital one in this country. As a matter of fact it is more likely that the Japanese will present a far larger question than the Chinese on this road. I have far more faith in the suggestion made by the hon. member for Waterloo (Mr. Clare) that the whole matter of alien labour should be covered and properly covered in the Bill and that question, I think, will be best met as a part of this contract. I am not at all enthusiastic, until I see what proposals are to be made, of any promised legislation of the government upon this general question. Unfortunately our general laws in this respect are not well observed, and our Alien Labour Law is not as a matter of fact, enforced ; it does not seem to me it has ever been fairly and honestly enforced. I notice that only three or four days ago in the city of Vancouver itself there were 13 or 14 prosecutions under the Alien Labour Law, but the judge dismissed the charges giving reasons that were altogether opposed to the arguments put forward in this House when the Bill was passed. By this means the law is nullified and nullified purposely because the law was in favour of the worker and the law has been interpreted in favour of the employer.

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LIB

Ralph Smith

Liberal

Mr. RALPH SMITH.

Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for East Elgin (Mr. Ingram) stated that there was quite a difference between an hon. member of this House employing labour on his own account and labour being employed on public works assisted bv public money. The point that my hon. friend from Burrard (Mr. Macplierson) made was in my opinion a good one, that an individual member of this House can best support a principle when he makes that principle practical in his own business. I would like to remind the hon. member for East Elgin that on the Esquimau and Nanaimo Railway, which was subsidized to the extent of $750,000, with a land subsidy of 1,900,000 acres and free of taxation forever, the hon. senior member for Victoria (Mr. Earle) who had a contract for more than $1,000,000 in connection with the construction of that road employed Chinamen. If I had a contract from this parliament, if I was remunerated or paid out of public money and if I thought fit to employ whatever labour I liked I would certainly think fit not to prevent others from doing what I had done myself. I consider it is a proper argument to present to this House that no member of this House, when public money is used, after he has had the advantage of the use of that public money and after he has taken the opportunity of em-

ploying whatever labour be likes, is entitled to bring an amendment into this House preventing another party from doing the same thing if he thinks it best. I consider that he js not only inconsistent in doing that but I think this is but another [DOT]evidence that a large number of the amendments presented by hon. members of the opposition in connection with this Bill are presented with the desire merely to make political capital. As I have always done in this House I am prepared to support any restriction of the Chinese, but I want to say that this present government has done more to make it impossible for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company to employ that kind of labour upon the construction work on the Pacific coast than any government that was ever in power in this Dominion before. My hon. friend, and I am speaking altogether politically, was elected to this House in 1889. The government that my hon. friend supported was in power for six years after he came to this House and he did absolutely nothing in these six years to bring relief to the people of the Pacific coast in regard to this question. During the particular period in which my hon. friend was connected with the party in power this was a burning question because this was the time when Chinese labour in the province of British Columbia was affecting white labour. If there was any period iu the history of Chinese labour In British Columbia when regulation was necessary it was during the period that my hon. friend sat in this House and supported the party in power without lifting his hand or his voice to secure any restriction upon that kind of labour. I contend that it comes ill from an hon. member who has such an experience to present an amendment of this kind at this particular time. But, I want to say more. As I stated on Friday evening when this question was under discussion there is no special legislation, or legislation against a particular class that will provide the proper remedy in connection with this question. My hon. friend must see the inadequacy of such legislation. We were discussing the question of alien labour on Friday last. It had special reference to the Americans who are brought over to be employed on the Grand Trunk Pacific in Manitoba. In British Columbia it is Chinamen, in Manitoba it is Americans, in Ontario, it may be some one else, in Quebec it may be some one else, and that shows the wisdom of the proposal of the government to bring in general legislation That will cover all possible grievances arising out of this question. What does it matter to the white working man in Manitoba or British Columbia whether his stomach is kept empty by the Italian or the Chinaman ? What does it matter to him what particular alien happens to be work-ling on the public works of this country

who prevents him from getting a livelihood ? It does not matter to him at all. The whole question must be considered so as to find a remedy that will cover every phase of it. If there are people to be brought to this country whose presence will deteriorate the importance and standing of the labour men of this country we ought to have general legislation that will cover the whole ground and which will provide a remedy for the workingmen of Canada. Let me say this : The party in power have practically excluded the Chinese. I have made inquiries within a few days and I find that not a single Chinaman has come into this country since January, 1904, when the legislation enacted by this parliament came into effect. Whilst the hon. senior member for Victoria is moving an amendment, which, I have to admit, is demanded by the people of British Columbia, I want to point out that my hon. friend is not logical in his position. The people of British Columbia say: We do not want the Chinese to be employed on the construction woi'k of the Grand Trunk Pacific and my hon. friend brings in an amendment to make that impossible so that in that particular he is complying with the wishes of the people of that province. But, the people of British Columbia say : We want the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway ; yet, my hon. friend has consistently voted against that proposal. In that he is not consistent. If he wanted to carry out the wishes of his friends he would support the proposal which is now before the House. I want to say here as I said when I addressed the House on the Grand Trunk Pacific question that representatives of the Conservative party in British Columbia had solicited the influence of members of this House in connection with the passing of this Bill and my hon. friend is not answering the disposition of his own friends in British Columbia by voting against this Bill. Then, the position the hon. gentleman takes is, that because he can let down a little on some proposition that he thinks will apply with some force to a certain class of people in British Columbia he proposes this amendment. But, what about the general question ? I want to repeat that if the hon. gentleman desired to comply with the wishes of the people of British Columbia on the general question of the Grand Trunk Pacific, as he is attempting to do in regard to this particular question, he would cast his vote in favour of this general measure. I support the Bill because I know that the people of British Columbia want it. The amendments of the hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden) moved last session and the amendments of the hon. leader of the opposition moved this session have not been discussed seriously in the political associations in British Columbia right up to date. If any one looks over the files of the

public press, and of the Conservative press of British Columbia he will see that the people of that province, Liberals and Conservatives alike, with the exception of certain points that I have mentioned, are supporting the Grand Trunk Pacific. Now, if the hon. senior member for Victoria wants to be consistent, wants to be logical in his position, why does he not do not only in regard to this particular thing but in regard to the whole question, what the people of British Columbia want ?

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CON

Robert Abercrombie Pringle

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PRINGLE.

I think it hardly proper for the hon. member for Vancouver (Mr. Smith) who has just taken his seat to accuse my hon. friend from South Waterloo (Mr. Clare) of inconsistency.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Victoria.

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CON

Robert Abercrombie Pringle

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PRINGLE.

I understood that the hon. gentleman was opposing the motion which had been presented by my hon'. friend (Mr. Clare).

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

The hon. member (Mr. Clare) intimated that at a future stage he intended to make a motion. The question before the chair is the amendment of the hon. member for Victoria (Mr. Earle).

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CON
CON

Thomas Earle

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EARLE.

I do not propose to jis-cuss this question at any length, but in reply to the statement of the hon. member (Mr. Ralph Smith) who charges me with inconsistency, let me say, that I admit that the people of British Columbia want a railway, although I am satisfied after hearing the discussion on the government railway scheme, that when the people of British Columbia understand the whole question thoroughly they will be as utterly opposed to this proposal of the government as are the members on this side of the House. That the people of British Columbia want a railway across the northern part of their province is undoubted. They are quite prepared to support any reasonable scheme that would give them such a road, but they have not yet had an opportunity of learning the enormity of the proposal that is now before the House, and when they do understand it, I am satisfied that they will not favour it. Let me tell my hon. friend (Mr, Ralph Smith) that it is true that some twenty years ago I had a railway contract, and in order to obtain sufficient labour to complete that contract within the time limit, we were obliged to employ Chinese labour. I did then what I had a perfect right to do as a private citizen, and I did what it was necessary for me to do to carry out my contract, but I have always been opposed to the introduction of the Chinese in large numbers into British Columbia. The time has been in Mr. RALPH SMITH.

British Columbia-and that time has scarcely yet passed away-when the necessity for cheap labour was a very great problem for us. One of my objects in moving this amendment to prevent the Chinese being employed on the Grand Trunk Pacific in British Columbia is : that if there is such a prohibition, it will be the means of inducing a very large number of white labourers to come to the province and to settle there after the road has been constructed. It is the experience of the past, that when white labourers are employed on a work of this kind, a great many of ' them will take up land, or go into mining after the road is completed, and become useful residents of the province. On the other hand, if Chinese are employed on the construction of that road, they will take their money and leave the country, and there is no benefit to be derived from them except possibly the benefit which the contractors may reap.

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

We have had many instances in this House of acrobatic feats performed by Liberal members, but we have had none to equal the exhibition of this afternoon. We saw the member for Bur-rord (Mr. Macpherson) referring to the member for Victoria (Mr. Earle) in every kind of language that the rules of parliament would permit, and all because my hon. friend (Mr. Earle) had the courage to introduce an amendment prohibiting Chinese labour on this railway which is to cost so. much to the people of Canada. And, after the hon. member (Mr. Macpherson) had accomplished this, he concluded by saying that he heartily supported the amendment of my hon. friend (Mr. Earle). I commend his conduct to his constituents in Burrard. And why does the hon. gentleman (Mr. Macplier-son) support the amendment ? It is because he knows what the public sentiment in his province is, and because he fears it. He told us that there were no Chinese coming to the country now, and that the amendment was absolutely useless, but if that be the case why does he hesitate to oppose it ? He blamed the hon. member (Mr. Earle) for having employed Chinese labour on a work constructed a quarter of a century ,ago, and he told us that it was Chinese labour and the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, or no Chinese and no railway. Does the hon. gentleman mean to say that if Chinese were not employed, the railway would not be constructed ? I challenge him to repeat his words. The gentleman asked: Why not exclude all

others ? The answer is perfectly plain, and it is : that the intention is to exclude a class of men who have no families, who take upon themselves none of the duties of citizenship, who are not ready to defend the country, and who are aliens in every sense

of the word. It is not very complimentary to the people of other nationalities, that the hon. gentlemen should compare them to the Chinese. It is not fair that the white labourers of this country should be pitted against men who can live upon one-quarter what it costs the white men to live, and who are of no practical use in the economy of the nation. It is not a fair race in life to make the white man compete with the Chinaman

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May 17, 1904