I have received a communication from the Toronto District Labour Council in reference to two matters. The first portion of it is in reference to the Alien Labour Act. The statement is made on behalf of the council that an officer was duly appointed when the Act was passed, that deportations were made from time to time on the report of that officer, that a request was then made for an extension to enable a private individual to take action in addition to any powers which the government bad, and an amendment was made. But the Dominion government, it is said, take the position that its powers to act are gone ns a result of the amendment, and that a conviction ought to be obtained at the suit of a private individual before it can order deportation. The council has always maintained the opposite view, namely, that the power of the government is intact, notwith-
standing the amendment made as I liave stated. Now, they contend that their view has been proved correct by the action the Dominion government has taken in ordering deportations upon the report of Judge Winchester in respect to aliens upon the Grand Trunk Pacific and recently in respect to the Pere Marquette employees or officials. They state that Judge Winchester, while making such an investigation, seemed to be acting practically as an alien labour officer, and that the evidence taken goes to prove that the Grand Trunk Railway Company, which has refused to honour the award of the arbitrators in favour of the Grand Trunk telegraphers, and the Canada Foundry Company are at present flagrantly violating the provisions of the Alien Labour Act.
Then they say that :
*Certain amendments were introduced by the government at the last session of the House of Commons that would have had the effect of making the Act something more than the farce it is at the present time.
And it is resolved by the council that the Dominion government be requested to appoint a commission to at once investigate the charges made by them against the Grand Trunk and the Canada Foundry Company of violating the Alien Labour Act.
There is a further resolution that:
This council further request, inasmuch as it has been publicly charged that the amendments of last session were introduced simply because a general election was then impending, and as the council, in union with the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada, expressed its faith in the sincerity of the government in this regard, that the government reintroduce at the present session the amendments desired to make the working of the Act both expeditious and effective.
That is the case they set forth and that is the request that they have laid before the goverumeut. It is that, iu so far as the Alien Labour Act is concerned, a further investigation take place in reference to two of the charges that they have made, and that the government introduce again and pass this time the amendments which were introduced last session, but which, as 1 understand, were not passed. They think it is wise to do this, both in the interest of the government and in the interest of labour organizations. They seem to be anxious that the government shall demonstrate its good faith that these amendments, as introduced last year, were not introduced simply for a purpose before the general election, but were meant to become a part of the law, and that therefore they should be made part of the Act during the present session.
The second complaint which they wish to be preferred here is with reference to complications which they say have arisen in the old country, and which no doubt have arisen wherever certain classes of emigrants are induced or encouraged to come to Canada by certain agents, with the promise that ready employment will be found, and, going further, with actual recommendations to certain parties, and with the assertion that they will be employed immediately on their making application to them. In some cases I believe these agents have gone so far as to make a form of contract and give it to the emigrant, with the suggestion that it will be implemented as soon as he arrives at the proper place in this Dominion. They contend that Mr. Preston, who after some discussion of the subject gave over doing this, did it of his own accord as Dominion immigration agent, and that the matter is effectually done through the agency of one Leopold, who, it is alleged, has an office in the same building in which the Dominion immigration quarters are, or near by. They say that the modus operandi is that when applications are made to the Dominion officials there, they are sent with the parties making the applications to this man Leopold, and that consequently he is assisted in carrying out his part of the business under what seems to be the patronage or auspices of the Dominion authorities in the immigration office. They feel very strongly upon that point. As a result, either through Leopold or others following out the same plan-because they themselves make something out of it -they say that skilled immigrants have been sent over with these letters and these forms of contract, that they have come to different cities of Canada-to Toronto as one-and that, going to the persons to whom they have been directed, they have found neither any employment, contract nor any employment, and have been left stranded and at the mercy of circumstances ; and that there have been many cases of great hardship. They append and have sent to the government statements made by certain of these immigrants-among them Colin A. Gunn and William A. Moore-as corroboration of what I have said and of their charges. These statements, if true-and we have no reason to believe that they are not true-show a state of affairs which is very undesirable and very unfair to these skilled artisans themselves, and which ought to be remedied, so far as the government can do it. More especially I think it will be admitted that the government itself ought to keep free of any possible suspicion of a connection between its agents in London or in Europe, and these parties who act as employing ageneies, who get fees from these men, and who send them to a far-off and unknown country, where they are put at very great disadvantage in the way just stated? What they want is an immediate investigation into the charge which they have made in this respect. I do not see why that should not be granted. If the circumstances are as the Trades and Labour Council say they are. they have a grievance on behalf of their fellow workmen in Great
Britain and a grievance on behalf of their workmen in this country. I think I have done my part in presenting simply and solely their point of view at the present time, so that it may be before the House and the government. Any further discussion on the subject will be had after the government has made its statement, and it may have another side to it.