August 6, 1904

LIB

Alexander Johnston

Liberal

Mr. ALEX. JOHNSTON.

I would ask the hon. gentleman if he does not think it only fair, in connection with the observations he is making, to give the information cabled to this country by Mr. Robertson, explaining the incident to which he refers 1 No doubt he has that at hand.

Topic:   CANADIAN ASSOCIATED PRESS REPORTS.
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?

Mr. SAM@

HUGHEiS. I do not know what the hon. gentleman means.

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LIB
?

Mr. SAM@

HUGHEiS. Does he mean the cable despatch ?

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LIB
L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

Why, that appeared in all the newspapers in this country, representing that Scholes' victory was received with the cry ' the foreigner wins.' I understood that the hon. gentleman asked my authority for my statement. And I tell him that I am not to be called upon by every back-bench member on the other side' to give him authority for what I say. I speak here on my responsibility as a member of this House, and my word stands in this country where the hon. gentleman's affidavit would not be taken. And back of it stand the facts of the case, which are better than affidavits. Now, let me point out the facts in another case. On the evening when a discussion took place in the House of Commons in England, which has been referred to in these cable despatches, the press agent was in close company with the hon. Solicitor General (Mr. Lemieux). He also Interviewed the Chief Justice, or one of the justices of the Supreme Court-I do not know his position ; it amounts to veryl ittlte anyway. And that interview also was cabled over to this country. It is said that this was only a conversation, much as this interview at Rimouski the other day, I suppose, was intended as a ' conversation.' Uet me say to the right hon. the Prime Minister that if he Is going to preserve the integrity of the bench of this country and preserve for it that respect which, I believe, he, in common with the most of the people of this country, would like to see it have, he will have to read a lesson to the judges of this country to mind their business and keep out of politics.

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LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

Let me remind the hon. gentleman that there is absolutely no question before the chair. I think that my hon. friend is clearly out of order.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

Then I shall conclude with a motion if you wish that, Mr. Speaker. We find these judges giving in-

terviews to the press in England which are not true, we And this gentleman giving an interview as Rimouski which is absolutely untrue in fact, and we find reports cabled out here referring to the speech made by Mr. Healy, which Mr. Healy totally repudiates and which he says is not true. I have read the English press and I fail to find one word that justifies the cablegram sent here in reference to his speech. From the fact that we have absolute evidence that the correspondent of the Canadian Associated Press was in company with Mr. Lemieux, the Solicitor General, about that time all 1 can say is that it looks very much as if tne inspiration had been received from a member of this government, anid not from a speech in the House of Commons in England.

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THE ALIEN LABOUR ACT.


Hon. Sir WILLIAM MULOCK (Postmaster General) moved third reading of Bill (No. 162) to consolidate and amend the Acts respecting Alien Labour.


CON

Nathaniel Boyd

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. NAT. BOYD.

I brought to the attention of the House yesterday the question of the farm labourers in Manitoba, and the discussion which ensued proved clearly that any man in Manitoba or the Northwest Territories bringing a farm labourer across the line from the United States would be subject to the penalties of this Bill. I understand that there are a great many farmers along the line of Manitoba and the Territories who frequently make use of labour from the United States at harvest time, and while I might be prepared to agree with the minister that it is not probable that the provisions of the Act might be resorted to, yet any evil-disposed person might set the machinery of the Act in motion to the detriment of some person towards whom he might have some ill-will. For that reason 1 think that some provision should be made to protect the farmers of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories in the approaching great harvest. We expect to require an enormous amount of help, in order to take care of that crop, and with that view I propose to move :

That all the words in the main motion after the word ' that ' be struck out and the following be substituted therefor :-

That the Bill be not now read a third time, but be referred back to committee for the purpose of inserting the following clause :-

That nothing in this Bill or in the Alien Labour law shall prevent the farmers of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories from importing all the farm labour that may be necessary in order to harvest the crops in that portion of the country.

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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

There is nothing in the Bill in any way altering the law as it stands to-day, and as it has stood on the statute-books for many years, applicable to the very case my hon. friend has in mind.

The provision of the Act respecting the importation of alien labour under contract have now been in force for seven years. There have been good crops during that time in the Northwest and I hope that these good crops will continue. They have required to import labour from all parts to harvest their crops. There has not been a case yet of any attempt being made to invoke the provisions of this Act In consequence of any alleged or supposed violation of it. When we consider that this Act has been in force for many years and that it is only where there has been some utter disregard of local interests to the injury of numbers of our local people, that there has been any litigation, we may fairly assume that when any large districts such as the territories may need farm labour for the temporary purpose of gathering the crops, that no action such as my hon. friend desires to have taken to prevent the enforcement of the. provisions of the Alien Labour Act in reference to the importation of labour for this purpose need be taken.

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CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

Would it not be possible as the law stands now for a farmer bringing in labour from the United States to he subjected to penalties ?

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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

This resolution in one part says that nothing in this Bill shall have a certain effect. There is nothing in this Bill that can have such an effect. Section 1 of the Act of 1897 which was amended by a subsequent Act is the only portion of any Act which bears on the question under consideration. There is nothing in this Bill amending section 1, and therefore the law is being left to-day as it has been for seven years. There is nothing whatever, therefore, in the Bill to warrant the first part of the proposition contained in this amendment.

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CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

The hon. gentleman has not yet answered the question I asked.

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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

The hon. gentleman is learned in the law and is quite as competent to interpret the law in this respect as any hon. gentleman in this House. What I say is that the mover of this amendment is suggesting that this Bill has some intent which it has not. There is another view which I would present for consideration. Would it be proper legislation to have exceptions in favour of one class only ? All class legislation is very undesirable. Here is a general, law and if the hon. gentleman desires to amend the general law, well and good. It has been on the statute-book for seven years, anid the hon. gentleman has had the opportunity at any time during these seven years of moving such an amendment, inviting the attention of the country to it, but he has not seen fit to do so. Even last night he begged that the Bill should not he allowed to come into force this year, yet to-

day he is asking that the measure shall be kept alive and be made use of to graft upon it some new legislation. I do not think it would be proper to introduce this class legislation.

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CON
LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MTTLOCK.

No, it applies to the whole industrial world in Canada. I think in the first place there is no practical necessity for this amendment. I do not think that any farmers of the west will ever be troubled by the provisions of this law should they do what my hon. friend says it would be their interest to do. No doubt there have been numerous technical violations of this law in the past, and yet no penalties were enforced, no complaints were made. The Act was never resorted to and there is no reason to assume that it will be resorted to in the future, where public interest warrants the importation of that class of work.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

The Bill is called 'An Act to consolidate and amend the Acts respecting Alien Labour.' The hon. gentleman says it is undesirable to apply legislation to a single class. From the provisions of this Bill, which is founded upon the American law, you except one class, those possessed of technical knowledge, so that it is not general in its application. It is just as undesirable to exclude one class as to legislate for one class. Therefore, the Bill is not universal in its application. The hon. Minister of Labour says that the law in regard to the importation of labour is practically the old law, that there is substantially no change. Well, if there is substantially no change, why under heaven do we want a Bill at all to amend the Labour Act, because it is to amend the Labour Act, and if there is no change made in the Labour Act which will be of any advantage to the Canadian people, why cumber the statutes with it or waste the time of parliament in passing it. But it is because of the uncertainty which has been created in the minds of the people as to whether it may interfere with any class in carrying on their operations that my hon. friend from Macdonald (Mr. Boyd) is afraid that it may be invoked against the people in the west who have to import labour to help them to do their work during the harvesting season. It is to make sure that there will not be any possibility of interference with the operations of the farmers in the west that my hon. friend has moved this amendment.

Right Hon. Sir WILFRID LAUR1ER (Prime Minister). Mr. Speaker, I am a little surprised, to use a very mild expression, at the amendment of my hon. friend from Macdonald (Mr. Boyd) and at the support it receives from his friends around him. Yesterday we had a very interesting discussion and the opposition claimed the merit of having forced upon the government the intro-Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

duction of an alien labour law similar to the law which was enforced against us by the United States. The hon. member for South Leeds (Mr. Taylor), amid the applause of his friends, and nobody contradicted him, made the statement that for six or seven years before the advent of the present administration, he had introduced this legislation. He wanted, he said, to educate the public to a realization of the sufferings which were inflicted on Canadians by the enforcement of the American law, and I must say that my hon. friend made good his case at least. It was in the year 1897 that Canadians were being deported at Buffalo, Detroit and other places. Men who left the Canadian side of the line to work in the United States were sent back to Canada. Then we introduced this present law. It has been enforced for seven years. What I wish to emphasize is, as has been stated by my hon. friend the Postmaster General (Sir William Muloek), that no complaint has ever been made that the law interfered with obtaining the supply of labour that was required to handle the crop of the west. The purpose of my hon. friend's amendment is to exempt the farmers of Manitoba from the operation of the law. If the amendment was adopted what would take place _? A more misehevous, a more hurtful or a more ill-considered amendment was never introduced. What would take place if the amendment were to be adopted ? It is well known that the crop matures in Dakota and to the south of us earlier than does our own crop. The Canadians leave their own side of the line to work in Dakota and other neighbouring states. When our crop matures men from Dakota, and the neighbouring states come and work in our country. If this proposed amendment were adopted you would have men going to work in Dakota deported from the United States, and the amendment would place us in such a position that we would have no possible means of protecting them. If you have this law on the statute-book on both sides of the line there will be no trouble. There are no deportations from Buffalo and Detroit now. A certain gentleman, Mr. Du Barry, was in the habit of sending Canadians from Buffalo back to Toronto and there were people in Detroit sending Canadians back to Windsor. Now that the law is the same on both sides, we do not hear very much about deportations : the rights of Canadians are respected. but remove that law and you will have the same thing as you had a few years ago.

Mr. SPRO Li LE. Have you ever heard of a Canadian from Manitoba going to work in the harvest in Dakota ?

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Yes, I have.

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August 6, 1904