quote some remarks of well known gentlemen on their appreciation of a shorter work day. Mr. Chamberlain related an experience of his own firm in his speech in the House of Commons in England on Mr. Le Leakes Mines Eight Hour Bill in March, 1892:
When I was in business, said he, (I am speaking of twenty years ago), my firm was working under great pressure twelve hours a day. Shortly afterwards the Factory Acts were applied to Birmingham, and we reduced the hours to ten a day. Sometime later we voluntarily reduced the hours to 9 a day, after the experiment at Newcastle of a nine-hour day. We were working self-acting machinery. All the workman had to do was to feed the machinery and see the fires were kept in order. In this case if in any, the product should be directly proportioned to the number of hours worked. What is the fact? When we reduced the hours from twelve to ten, a reduction of 17 per oent, the reduction in the production was about 8 per cent, and we again reduced the hours from ten to nine, a reduction of 10 per cent, the reduction of production was 5 per cent.
It will be observed that there was here apparently no speeding of the machinery nor any other change in the arrangements of the work, but that the whole difference is due to the increase in the personal efficiency of the workman under the influence of the shorter hours. It will be observed that the degree in which this personal improvement is effective did not decline with the successive reductions, but is quite as high, or rather a little higher proportionately in the second reduction than in the first. The same results are reported from America. Mr. Pratt, of Pratt & Co., says that in his rolling mill in Buffalo, when the hours were shortened from ten to nine in 1876 on account of bad times he found that the same number of men performed the same amount of work in nine as they did in ten, especially during the short days of winter. If we seek information from experienced men; we know that the shortening of hours has been an incitement to promptness at the hour of beginning work, and as less time is lost consequently production costs less, and the men are in better health. I might cite the experience of large industries as to reduction of hours.
If we take the report of Messrs. Short Bros., in Sutherland, when they established a reduction of hours at the same time as their neighbours, Messrs. Allan & Co., they have precisely the same story to tell. After eight weeks trial, they write Mr. Hadfield, that they are already satisfied the new arrangements of hours will not increase the cost of production, that they have every reason to believe that the production will be greater; that the week before they wrote, their wages bill was high-Mr. VERVILLE.
er than it had been any week during the previous year, showing that the men were working better and more regularly; that they had scarcely one absentee under the new arrangement, whereas under the old system 20 per cent of their men lost the first quarter every morning. Some of those who have given evidence as to the result of a shorter work day have not agreed, and some go as far as to condemn even the good result obtained by others, but should we be guilty of denying to hundreds and thousands of working men the right of reasonable leisure because a few employers will not believe a thing possible which is being done every day.
Have the employers of this country ever granted a restriction of hours willingly? if so they are so few that they are not mentioned in any labour literature that I have seen so far. It has been obtained in most cases from the result of a struggle between employers and employees which we can avoid by legislation.
In the spring of 1894, the English government, showing for once an enterprise above that of private employers, established a restriction of hours, by way of experiment, at the cartridge factory at Woolwich arsenal and although no details of the results of that experiment have been published, it is understood that as much and even more work was done by the men after the reduction of hours than was done before it. At any rate the experiment proved so successful that the late Mr. Campbell-Bannerman to whom the credit is due announced in parliament on the 5th of January in reply to John Burns the intention of the War Department to adopt a shorter work day as a general rule in all the public ordnance factories.
The United States has given us numerous examples of restriction of hours from ten to nine and from nine to eight.
In 1868 shorter hours were introduced by law in the United States, but the superintendents of the -works immediately reduced the men's wages to correspond by paying them at the old rate per hour. This was done in the Springfield Armoury amongst other places. The New York ' Tribune ' quotes the first report of the Commandant of the Armoury as in the effect of the new experiment. He states that file workers managed to make under the old tariff of wages quite as much per day under the short hours as under the long hours system, and that he believed the workmen had worked harder and more faithfully under the short days system than under the long hours. The foreman of the milling department reported on August 17, 1868, that the average earnings of 1,212 pieces of work under the long hours system ' in the month of June previous was $2.60,
whereas in July, under the short hours system, they earned $2.88 per day. In other words, they did considerably more work in short hours than they used to do in long hours.
The following states in the United States have enacted legislation for the restriction of hours in some form: Arizona, Arkansas, Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Okla-hama, Porto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Nevada, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri Michigan, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming.
Something has been done in this country in respect of shorter hours of labour. This government has established, not only in principle but in practice, a shorter work day in the National Printing Bureau. By an order in council of April 8, 1896, an eight-hour day was established, to take effect on May 1 of the same year.
Now, we might deal to some extent with the question of how this principle came into operation in a country which is often set as an example. The country I have reference to is Australia. Let us see how it was introduced in Victoria. During the gold fever of 1856 a large number of people immigrated to Australia, and from their experience in the mother country they were bound to have legislation passed in that respect, which they did, but not without a large amount of opposition; and the reasons then given were in exactly the same form as they are to-day, although no solid reasons were advanced to prevent it. I will acknowledge that for four years speeches were made and conferences given to if possible educate the masses, not the workers, as they were already in possession of the knowledge of the necessity of such a law. But the other classes of the community, who were looking at such a law as a socialistic measure, and even the promoters, were uneasy as to the result. But after it came in force, in 1885, in Melbourne, its inauguration was celebrated by a large parade, after which a large banquet was given at which Sir Henry Locke, then governor, was invited to speak. He recalled the great act in favour of humanity, saying that the eight-hour day had done more good and had such a good moral effect on the citizens that in the near future Australia would be set as an example in its labour conditions.
We know that the same government legislated in the same direction in 1890, 1896,
1897 and 1898, extending the law over more industries.
Let us look at the result of the reduction in some of Victoria's trades. The iron trades employed in the Australian Steam Ship Company's works, got a restriction of eight hours per day in 1858, on condition of accepting a proportional reduction of wages; but after a year's trial the company found that between the better work they obtained during working hours and the saving of gas, oil or other items of expense, they could afford to pay the men the old rate per hour, and did so. It seems an obvious conclusion that when so many establishments have found the way to make short hours pay in the face of the overwhelming competition of their long-hours neighbours, there can be no essential Tea-son why the rest should not make short hours pay likewise.
Short hours are sometimes pronounced to be a fruit of high wages; the working man, it is said has merely got rich enough now to prefer an hour's ease to an hour's pay. The successful workman of modern times has shortened his day of labour for the same reason, exactly as the successful merchant devotes less time to business after he has made his competency, because it is human nature to become less willing to work hard when there is less necessity for doing so. But it is also true that in some large industries in some of the large cities, in our country, they are now endeavouring to shorten the hours of labour and are willing to lose the difference in wages, as it has become necessary for those working people to have more rest, as they rightly claim, for to better their physical and moral condition.
Artisans, mill hands and others seem generally to prefer greater ease to greater wealth, thus proving that the painfulness of labour varies so rapidly as easily to over balance the gains of utility.
The same rule seems to hold throughout the mercantile employments. The richer a man becomes the less does he devote himself to business, as it is proved every day by numerous examples. A successful merchant is generally willing to give a considerable share of his profits to a partner or to a staff of managers and clerks rather than bear the constant labour of superintendance himself. There is also a general tendency to reduce the hours of labour in mercantile offices due to increased comfort and opulence.
This may be called theory, and it may be said it is not in accordance with the historical facts, but nevertheless it is proved by the history of ancient and modem times that work-neople will prefer more ease to more wealth. But in accordance with the standard of requirements constantly rising, it has been necessary for them to look for
a living wage and consequently they have to work harder in short hours and earn as much money, so as to balance the difference in hours.
It may be said that granting a shorter work day in Canada at this time would mean to paralyze the output of some of our industries. But the worthy persons who are taken in with this fallacy forget the fact, which is the key to a right understanding of this subject, that the general demand for commodities cannot outrun the general production of commodities, because thev are really only the same thing in a different aspect.
It may be said work people are endeavouring to restrict production by shorter hours of labour. It is impossible for any one to believe that such is the case as labour is not looking for a decrease but for an increase in wages, and if that was the case, instead of making more work for the unemployed in proportion to the restriction, thev would have really, in that proportion, made less work for the employed, as the natural effect of restricting production would be to lower wages not to raise them.
I claim that the prosperity of the working classes as well as the prosperity of the world itself lies in the abundance and not in the scarcity of things it produces, provided however that hours of labour be based on such production; so as to equalize both powers.
If production is over and above the consumption, as it is at present, thus increasing the number of unemployed, then the labour must be pressed. We may be asked: 'When will you stop? When you have shorter hours, you will want still shorter houre.' The very same question was asked in 1847 at the introduction of the 10-hours' law, and the answer is the same as then: shortening of hours was necessitated by over-production.
Let us take the principle of government interference.
Principles are always deduction from sequences of facts. The facts of the history of government development lead the philosopher and the man of common sense alike to hold the following beliefs:
The freedom of the individual to pursue his own interest as he will, must be respected. Where conflict of interest arises, 'common good' takes precedence over the desire of the individual.
This is the basis of justice, the teaching of humanity, the ground of patriotism. But let the government here recognize a moral limit and not invade to degrade the manhood of the least number.
Law must be guided by experience. In some the policy of ' laissez faire' must be corrected by such interference as exper-Mr. YERYILLE
ience has taught will result in greater benefit to the community.
And what has experience taught? The Duke of Argyle put the outcome most concisely when he said: 'The two great discoveries of this country are (1) the advantage of freedom in trade and (2) the necessity of restriction of labour.
We are here especially concerned with the second of these discoveries.
Supposed labour to be left unrestrained what would be the natural course of the life in industry.
Competition between producers encourages all possible reduction of cost. This tends to reduce wages, to increase the use of child labour, to perpetuate long hours of labour, &c.
A few unscrupulous employers resorting to such oppressive methods are able to force others to adopt the same policies.
The interests of the employing classes range themselves against those of the operative classes. In the struggle which results from this antagonism, the employer has the advantage of position to force his own terms of contract upon the labourer. He has in his hand an accumulated capital which is equivalent in power to effective organization.
These industrial conditions, left to take their own course, react upon the home and general social surroundings of labour to force down the workers' standard of living. This is an injury which no community can afford to tolerate, and it is a good reason for shortening hours of labour and thus balancing both powers.
The proofs that the work day should be shortened lies also on accidents occurring every day and at what times? We see from statistics furnished by the Jesuits in Germany where the 12-hours' day is set as a maximum, the following table of accidents that happen per hour in all the industries of that country where the working people commence at 6 in the morning and stop at
six at night. 6 to 7
7 to 8 .... 794
8 to 9 .... 815 "9 to 10 .... 1069 "10 to 11 .... 1,598 **11 to 12 .... 1.590 **12 to 1 .... *587 "1 to 2 .... 745 2 to 3 .... 1,037 3 to 4 .... 1,243 4 to 5 .... tU78 5 to 6 .... 1,306
*And some manufacturers stop 11.30. fThat is after a rest for lunch and many are then gone.
These figures prove that long hours of labour tell on the workers to the largest extent.
Then it is easy to see that the hours and
general condition of labour are such as to cause great wear and tear on body or mind or both and to lead to a low standard of living.
While it is proven that, under the short hours system, men work harder while they are at work than they do under the long hours system, it is then true that short hours and hard work impose less strain on the body than the long hours and dawdling, especially if the ten hours are passed in a hot or dusty or poisoned atmosphere such as many trades are obliged to work in. Then the increased exertion during working hours has always been balanced and more than balanced by the restorative effects of a longer period of repose or recreation in good air. While the men do as good a day's work as they did before, they improve in health and vigour, and such is corroborated by managers and over-lookers of some large institutions. There is more happiness in common, and in most cases the change is cited as an example which brought the change in conditions of modern times.
We must consider that human labour is not a marketable commodity like a bale of cotton or a ton of pig iron, though it is often treated as such. Fortunately on all sides we are rapidly awakening to a recognition of this fact. Far too many masters in all departments of trade and commerce fail to give sufficient thought to this most important subject.
They seem to forget that their employees are not mere machines but sentient human beings, with hopes and fears, aspirations and all the attributes which are common to mankind.
When a man is put at a machine, he should not be regarded by his employers as a part of it, but the human nature and the aspirations of a man should still be recognized. It i3 rightly claimed that the shortening of hours would lead to improvements, mental and physical. Any reform by which such change or improvement is effected, relating to some millions of human beings in this country alone, is not to be lightly put on one side or trifled with. If effected and if even a partial accomplishment of the end in view can be attained, the raising of such a considerable portion of the community must be of the highest benefit to the nation as a whole. If one rich man spends $1,000 dollars in luxuries, the purchase of these probably does not assist the trades that confer most benefits, but on the other hand, if we have 1,000 workers, each spending $1 it is more than probable that the turnover of the latter would stimulate trade of a nature that is most lasting and certain, and by so doing the community at large would derive large benefits from it. Objections of all sorts 188
have been made and are still made against short hours, and one of them is if you give more time to men you will give them more time to spend their money. What are the reasons for such objections? I hope^we are not willing to regard ourselves as inferior to other nations. Then where are the figures, where are the statistics, to prove that if you give more ease to a man he will ill-use it? It is known that our working classes have intelligence enough, instead of spending their money in the manner stated, to be temperate and-many are teetotallers-and so to make conditions better, as regards themselves, their wives, families and homes.
Let us look ten years back and compare the conditions then and to-day. Are the army of workers in a less fit position to exercise their right to-day than they were then? The worker is now in a better position, he earns more money and works shorter hours. He can buy the commodities of life. He can live in a better ventilated house and in better surroundings. He can have more pure air, he can cultivate his mind, he can teach his family that rightful ambition is not forbidden but.is permitted by the natural course of events. He can build his own home and have more comfort and become an honoured citizen. But it may be said:
' As long as the working men have attained all these things, we do not see any reasons to bring this question for discussion here in the House for they have attained all this by natural means.' But this has been the fruit of short hours and better wages, and the large masses who are looking for, and hoping to receive the same treatment as their fellow-workers are demanding a restriction of hours. Any one who has travelled over Canada and who has taken the trouble to observe conditions, has really seen that shorter hours are inevitable sooner or later; it has to come through the constant pressure from those directly interested by their labour and those directly interested by their profits.
The same people are demanding shorter hours demanded a Department of Labour, a fair-wage schedule, abolition of the sweating system, abolition of child labour, better protection in manufacture, better sanitary conditions, technical education, investigation of labour trouble, and so many other things-the same people that are accused constantly of working against the prosperity of the country.
It is proved also that shorter hours will give more time to men to make plans for their own improvement. If they had more leisure they in this country would do the same as in other countries-the time would he well spent. We would see more people in libraries and reading rooms.
If we are justified in expecting the gift
of leisure to spread an active desire for mental improvement, we are even better justified in expecting this spread of mental improvement to result in many substantial gains in industrial efficiency. We have seen employers remarking a certain quickening of intelligence in their men immediately after the shortening of hours. The _ faculties which seem to have been torpid and wandering under the long hours concentrated themselves with more purpose and interest in their work and produced better results.
Why should workers work less hours? Because the man is looked upon as a machine and under the present condition he is nothing else from the employers' standpoint. You will start a machine at 7 a.m., stop for an hour for oiling and cleaning, and work until 6 p.m. But the human machine is duly responsible to his family, he has to meet his obligation, he has to school his children, clothe and nourish them, pay his rent out of the petty earnings sometimes received for such a work. In his old age not much more is done for him than for the material machine. The piece of old iron may be re-cast and something done with it, but the man generally is thrown in the scrap-pile of society. As a machine he has been of great use and profit to his employer but, notwithstanding all that, the steel is worn out and he is dealt with as an old tool. During his life of labour he may have worked ten hours or more a day. If he is in a destitute position the fault may lie in the lack of education, but what time did he have to educate himself; what time did he have to educate his family? It may be said that he should have had done it in evenings. But when fourteen hours of a man's day are taken by his work is it reasonable toi believe that such can be done? The strain on his body is sometimes nothing to the strain on his brain. He never knows whether he will work to-morrow, he never knows whether he will live very long under the same roof with his family as he may be compelled to seek employment elsewhere. It may be that one of his family is on a sick bed, crying for better provision than usual. It may be that he is under the grinding of many more causes of daily worry. Still his energy is all taken up by his work. Then, is it possible for a human being to last any length of time under such conditions? These are to-day's reasons which will be repeated to-morrow and with some addition, and so on until such a time as the machine is partially or completely worn out. If a part of the human machine breaks or is out of order, does the employer contribute to repair the weak or broken part? No, but he will do it for his material machine as it represents a certain capital and to replace it a certain amount
of money must be spent. But he the human can be replaced an hour after the breakage without any cost to the employer, which is most generally done, and still we say, why should we shorten the hours of labour? Because of the present long-hour day many are unemployed and the man on the street fixes the wages paid to the man at work. Labour-saving machinery has increased the producing capacity of the workman who, in justice, should be afforded leisure. Shorter hours would give greater opportunity for social and educational development.
It would Taise the standard of living, upon which prosperity depends.
It would help the tax-payers by putting the tramp to work.
It would promote spirit which is lacking in over-worked people.
It would give men a chance to get acquainted with their families.
It would promote temperance by removing the desire for stimulants which come from long hours of labour.
It would make better citizens by giving the citizen more time to understand his duties.
Another reason, and of the highest importance in respect of restriction of hours of labour, is the woman and child labour.
It is not my intention to dwell at any length on that subject at this time. I hope it will be treated in a masterly way by some of the hon. memlbers in this House. However, I am in duty bound to say a few words so as to permit other members to put before the House the necessity of restriction of hours, especially on that line. Have we ever stopped to consider that the child who works in the industries is to be the man or woman of to-morrow? Have we ever considered that they are to build the future generation? Have we ever considered that on them lies the responsibility of the growing of a strong nation? Have we ever asked ourselves whether we have acted in a spirit of progress in favour of our future generation?
Where is the hon. member of this House, either in his quality of member of this council of the nation or as citizen, who can say that he has done all he can to alleviate the sorrows and misery of thousands of women and children who are constantly wearing their life away in industry?
I am sorry to say that so few of our men in the economic world are giving enough time to even think of the condition of such a life.
Alongside of what we may call individual duty there is also a social duty, and I hope that in the near future we will have the government dealing on all such social questions and that a certain percentage of the members of this House will devote a few hours weekly to study this great question, which is the question of the day.
In rising to speak on this question, I do not intend to detain the House at any great length, but simply to add a few observations to the elaborate and brilliant speech of my hon. friend (Mr. Verville). The speech which has been delivered by the labour member in this House is of such ability as to fully demonstrate what education may perform in the working portion, or labour classes of the community, and to what a high grade of development that class may attain in favourable circumstances. I sincerely congratulate the hon. member for the remarkable way with which he has treated the subject interesting us presently.
I am happy and proud in addresing the House to-day, that it should be on a question of such importance and that I should be called to support the eight hours' movement, a labour problem which is stirring all socially to improve the welfare of thousands of people, the labourers, who are the fulcrum of democracy. I have drawn, in my youth, from the source of paternal education, the knowledge and love of sound democracy, and I am happy, I again say, to do perhaps something in its favour. The eight hours' movement directly results from the growing prosperity and intelligence of manual workers throughout the civilized world; it is no new fad of a.few agitators, it is rather a recurrence to a state of things which prevailed in early ages and as far back as the 13th and 14th centuries. England, more advanced in her industrial development, has done a great deal to meet the new problems of modern times, and presently the eight hours' movement is agitating alike England, the western part of the continent of Europe, and the United States. The whole current of thought that led to the great French Revolution was one of hatred and bitter hostility to the tyranny of the past. Everywhere men saw the possibility of a new and wider field opening before them; everybody had in his heart that profound hope which awakes courage and burned with, eagerness to break the inherited chains of despotism. This great social commotion was morally felt through the whole world, and its consequence was that more freedom and large concessions were bestowed on humanity in general and on the labouring classes in particular. From that day democracy felt in its bosom a sense of vigour, and the great voice of the people was heard over all others, claiming redress for long standing evils and asking for more protection and welfare.
England has done a great deal in favour of workmen, and a complete, minute and voluminous code for the protection of labour now exists in that country.
The eight hours' labour question, Mr. 188}
Speaker, has been dealt with from a statistical and economical standpoint, and I wiii only say a few words in this direction, my intention being to view the theory of shorter hours in another aspect, just as important, in my way of thinking, that of upholding or raising the workmen by way of education and by giving them a larger share of rest, comfort and liberty.
The question before the House is an economic experiment in this country, as it demands only that this reform be applied to the government's servants, and I am of opinion that the Liberal party would give an instance of great interest in the labour ing classes in adopting it, and would raise a general cry of satisfaction among thousands forming the grand army of toilers. But of course there is another side to the present debate, a counterpoise, and this brings the question to its real point. The action of the government in favour of shorter hours would, there is no doubt, widely open the door to a demand for legislation in favour of generalizing the system, and then would appear the formidable forces of manufacturers and industrials. Capital and labour would be then in presence and would fight a great battle.
The hon. member from Maisonneuve (Mr. Verville) has proved satisfactorily that capital had nothing to lose by the reduction of labour hours. Numerous experiments have shown that production did not diminish at all, nor cost of production increase; that prices had in no case been affected, or the volume of trade reduced by the adoption of shorter hours of labour. In some cases a reduction of profits had taken place, but this must be attributed to the fact that business rivals were left free to work longer hours. In no case does the adoption of the eight-hour day appear to have been followed by any economic disaster
The fact is asserted by the highest authorities in economy, that successive reductions of the hours of labour, which this country has witnessed, have been attended, after a very short interval, by a positive general increase in individual productivity, and in many cases it has been found that the workers did more in ten hours than their predecessors in twelve. The possibility of maintaining the total amount of the product, notwithstanding a reduction of working hours, may seem most incredible to many, but it is nevertheless proved by too much evidence to allow of doubt. In the face of experience and probant testimony from all parts of the world, it seems no longer possible to infer, on purely theoretic grounds, that the product must necessarily be diminished hy a further shortening of the working day. Mr. John Ray, an eminent writer, who is very
frequently quoted in questions of this kind, has put forth the probable consequences of reduction of hours in a very exhaustive article in the 'Contemporary Keview' of October, 1891, in which he points out that the present very long day in many trades and occupations is a product mainly of this century, the fruit of the factory system which the industrial revolution brought in its train.
For the last sixty years, he says, we have been slowly learning the lessons that the prolongation of working hours, which was nearly eating the heart out of the labouring manhood of England, was, from the standpoint of the manufacturer's own interest, a grave pecuniary mistake.
He then goes on to give copious evidence from actual experiments, that a workman can do as good work in eight hours as in nine or ten or more; and he argues that the sources from which the compensating progress in the labourer's personal efficiency had proceeded in previous experience and are still far from being exhausted. Among the sources which he mentions are the increased energy, contentment, and intelligence of the workman, "the saving of time lost through sickness, unpunetuality and the breaks for meal times.
One may ask, Sir, how it is that shortening the hours of labour does not affect productivity. It is because shorter hours tell on the vital and mental energies of the workmen, who soon discover the secret of making up for the diminution of work hours by improved arrangements of the work.
The main point in connection with any proposed further reduction of the hours of labour is the question of the probable effect of the change in the personal efficiency of the workpeople. If productivity was to be lessened by short hours, profits and wages would also be lessened; and good wages are quite as necessary to the improvement of the working class as more leisure. But then shorter hours may not in reality mean shorter product, for they may so better the quality of labour that as much is done afterwards in the short day as was done before in the long one. A French manufacturer once said to M. Guizot, one of France's most renowned historians and statesmen: 'We used to say it was the last hour of labour that gave us our profit, but we have now learned it was the last hour that ate up our profits.' This admission, it seems to me, is most significant and most conclusive.
The majority of writers on this economical subject agree that the eight hour movement ought to obtain a legal recognition of the general social^ interest in every labour contract, and it is generally admitted that no other power but parliament can secure an effective reduction.
It seems to me that the questions now Mr. G. A. TUECOTTE.
under consideration, if it comes to a favourable conclusion, would be, on the part of this Liberal government, a generous as well as an inviting effort towards securing a general settlement of this most interesting and important subject; and is it not the duty of the state to set an example in this present occasion?
It is not in the scope of my remarks to go further in the direction of giving an economical demonstration of the eight hour system, but if we admit, as the available evidence and sound reasoning in political economy make it most reasonable to believe, that the eight hour day of labour has no blight to cast on the economic prosperity of the working class or of the nation at large, while it will be certain to contribute greatly to the moral and social elevation of both, then it is the task of those who stand at the head of the people as leaders, to see that the great class of toilers be protected, either by means of concessions from employers, or through the trade union agency, or by means of legislation..
We must bear in mind that human society is a moral body which has a heart as well as the individual; so says Victor Cousin. Generosity, goodness and fairness, consequently are expected to be found in every political organism.
I will now, Sir, attempt to view in a few words the question oi shorter hours of labour from another aspect; that of building up the welfare of the manual labouring class by giving it time and leisure to benefit from education, making each man, as much as possible, a better, if not a competent judge of the great questions that parliament has to decide. Every man in the country is virtually called to share in the work of government. But are the men thus called upon to rule capable of understanding the task set before them? All wellthinking and experienced public men will unanimiusly answer that a very large number of our labouring fellow citizens are not, under present industrial conditions, capable of forming a fair, conscientious and accurate opinion on the point at issue. And where is the remedy to the evil, if not in the raising of the intellectual capacity of the electorate! An eight hours day will give more daily leisure to the bulk of voters and thousands of working men will have the opportunity of becoming competent for their duties of citizenship.
Let us not forget that the ruing power lies in the greater number who thus become the real masters of the country when the ballot day arrives, and it is necessary to educate such masters by giving them all possible opportunities of thinking of and learning the important liabilities incumbent on their supreme prerogatives. The workingmen are not mere machines to be used, I could *ay illused, till they are completely
ruined and then cast away, no, they are human beings with hopes dear to them and fears, legitimate aspirations, sentiments, and all are the attributes which are common to mankind.
In this country, Sir, when human energy has come to be of such a whirling activity, when aspirations towards wealth, comfort and enjoyment have become, in individuals as well as in all classes of society, a passionate flight carrying away humanity to a more perfect state of things, it must be remembered that one of the most promising expectations regarding the future conditions of the human race is the true improvement of man.
Now the toilers being the largest portion of the community must be looked after in the direction of giving them certain hours of liberty that they will be induced, in the course of time, to devote to instruction. In so acting they will raise their moral, intellectual and physical standing. In their leisure hours, they will also be able to indulge in a more intimate intercourse with the higher and more refined classes of society, and they will derive from it great benefits for themselves, as well as for the community at large. This may appear to be a Utopia to those who have no faith and no hopes in this democratic doctrine, but I am not of that number, and I sincerely believe that, sooner or later, the ideas that I now advocate will be a great factor in the building up of the national advancement of all civilized countries. 1 do not think to stray when I submit that the future progress of the world rests mainly on the more or less good will of legislators to incite education in the lower classes. Let the toiler know the great lessons of hygiene, let us teach him the duties of a leader in his family, let us impress on hi? mind the knowledge proper to a citizen and let us urge him to make it a point to perform faithfully and scrupulously what is to be expected from a member of the sovereign. To arrive at this, Sir, it is of absolute necessity that a new horizon be opened before the working classes, that hours of rest and liberty be granted to them during which they will be in a position to consider and to understand that their energies must not be directed only in the way of becoming more skillful workmen, but that it also belongs to them to become useful and able citizens and men in the widest acception of the word. The free hours given to the working man will awaken in him new faculties and this will be all to the advantage of the social body. And when the day comes during which thousands of workmen stand before the ballot box to cast their vote, the country will have the guarantee that the judgment rendered by this great portion of the community is one given by men able to discriminate with a sound mind and a cultivated intellect the great political questions debated before them. In a country like ours, having a political organization coun-teidrawn on the English constitution, the most admirable of all constitutions in the world, I venture to say that it is of very great importance that the people be induced to self-government either in the individual sphere, or in the domain of the family or that of the work shop, or in the intercourse between citizens. Every man ought then to be guided by principles involving regard for the dignity of man, this meaning to do nothing against the liberty of the citizen and to love his country.
These are, Sir, sound democratic principles that the boy should learn at school, for their knowledge will become more and more necessary as time goes by, witnessing the great economical evolution of society as a whole.
Generalizing the right of vote as it is done to-day, and extending it more and more to the masses, is assuredly handing the power to the pebple at large and what will be the consequence of thig when difficult political problems are left to fee discussed, weighed and decided without appeal by a majority of electors ignorant and having no idea of what is put before them.
The duties of an elector have to be learned and it is absolutely necessary that the man who votes should know what he has to do, so that his action be of some advantage to him and to his country. Ignorant, we believe everything and any party can lay hold of us and make us blind partisans; educated, a man considers and thinks before depositing his ballot in the ballot box, he knows what he is doing, and consequently acts as a true citizen.
Any attempt to better the condition of the labouring classes which does not ultimately raise their standard of comfort and enlarge their intellectual capacity, will be useless, and any cause which stands to lower it, should, if possible, be removed.
Our constitution confers to the people the great and sublime mission of ruling by suffrage, and it is of vital importance that this people, in the hands of whom the destiny of the country is entrusted should be qualified by education to perform this sovereign duty. It should be the effort of every nation to secure, as far as possible, good and contented citizens; and forces which contribute to this in any way should not be disregarded. The nation feels a direct interest in securing the advancement of the health and education, and the morality and well-being of the whole community. The improvement of the labouring classes has now become a matter of fundamental interest to every nation, as regards its supremacy as a nation. It will be to the nation which builds up, by a wise policy in
this direction, an honest, sturdy, self-reliant and intelligent class of labourers, that the prize of industrial supremacy will come. In just so much as each individual labourer creates wealth more than he consumes, does he increase the wealth and prosperity of his country. Civilization and progress today, more than ever, rest on the integrity and welfare of the family. Home comforts and home life must be given to the workers so as to render indissoluble the ties of family formed by the intimate and unremitting intercourse of the father with the children. Family is the most admirable of all government, and it is in its bosom that children, the citizens of to-morrow, must learn the lessons of wisdom and experience, and well understand that the prosperity of society is based on that of the family. The father is the natural teacher at home, and it is to better fulfil his duty as such that he claims a few hours of rest and liberty. Let us have the ' eight hours labour ' reform as advocated in this House to-day, and sooner or later it will come to have such a beneficial effect on public opinion, it is my firm belief, as to impress on our legislative ^powers the conviction that it is of sound politics to have all toilers of this country benefit by it. Such liberal legislation would secure for millions of tired workers an hour or two of leisure otherwise spent in toil; it would enable many, who would otherwise have plodded the daily round of monotonous labour, to obtain access to some share in that larger life from which they are now relentlessly excluded; it would protect the future generations of the race from physical degeneration or mental decay; it would make brighter the lives of those who have toiled, and then a large class amongst us might have education, and holidays, and culture.
In concluding, I claim for the hard working class, standing as a very essential part of our social organism, its share of a beneficial and philanthropic legislation. I am advocating the cause of those who labour, toil and moil and suffer day after day, and ask for them their legitimate, although small, portion of what is enjoyed largely by those more fortunate. Let us bear in mind, I would humbly submit, that it is the duty of those now in power, not only to legislate on actual questions interesting presently the community, but, that it is also of vital importance to all, that legislative action be taken to prepare the future welfare of the people at large, and the question now under consideration is such as to be the foundation stone in the future building of more favourable, larger spirited and democratic legislation. To us it belongs to prepare the future; it will be what we will have made it ourselves.
When we first meet with the labourer in history, he is a mere serf, but this condition did not last and was doomed, by its very Mr. G. A. TUKCOTTE.
nature, to vanish. After centuries of everlasting efforts and of hard struggle, the labourer was delivered from the stigma of legal inferiority and won freedom. But, I am sorry to say that the workmen of the twentieth century are still slaves; in some respects they are not under lash of unmerciful masters, it is true, but there are serfs through the exigencies of the present conditions of labour, in many cases. Thousands of children of our working fellow citizens, in most of pur large cities, have never yet seen their father by daylight. To the eyes of those little ones, the father is no better than serf, having no time to devote to home functions and paternal duties. Are we justified in calling right this condition of industrial life? Let us bear in mind that the social body has no better guarantee of its future improvement than the proper intellectual and moral training of children in the family bosom.
Improve the educational standard in the people and we will have better citizens, capable of judging the merits of their claims and their duties. In the spread of education, evils of all kinds are, if not annulled, considerably reduced. Let brain come to the front and we will find men well informed of the laws regulating social and industrial conditions; violence and disorder will disappear, we will see the ultimate adjustment of many industrial difficulties and come to the solution of most of the labour problems. Capital and labour will arrive mutually to better understanding and the great commotions that shake the social structure now and then in its very foundations, will be avoided.
Pasteur, the immortal Pasteur, one of the most surprising geniuses that humanity has ever produced, whose intellect seems to have been more directly enlightened by a divine ray of wisdom and knowledge, be it said to the glory of France, Pasteur's contention is that peace and science will triumph over war and ignorance; that all nations will unite and act in concert not to destroy and to ruin, but to build and to improve, and that time to come will belong to those who will help in raising the labouring classes by way of giving them educational advantages, and to those who will alleviate the sufferings of mankind. Labour has the undeniable right to be treated at least as well as any other source of power. Let us then set an example and give the first impulse in the direction of shortening the hours of labour so as to offer to the working people facilities for attaining to intellectual enlightenment.
This step towards real progress is undoubtedly a part of the Divine economy by which a new factor would be added to the evolution of humanity towards its industrial as well as intellectual development.
Little has been done up to the present, time, in favour of the lower classes, compared with the considerable and important legislation passed by parliament in the way of endowing capital and the higher classes of the community. However I must say that the Liberal party has done a great deal more in that direction than our friends of the opposition when in power, and I am particularly pleased in availing myself of this opportunity of congratulating the Hon. Minister of Labour (Mr. Lemieux) for having erected on a broad basis of justice, a tribunal where industrial conflicts can be settled and where labour and capital can meet and come to terms.
I fully understand that the eight hour agitation may be rather premature, and may be a source of difficulties to the government, its present bearings on production and wages being matters of serious study and discussion. But the economic current which it indicates is a sure guarantee of its coming sooner or later to a favourable issue, and Liberalism, I venture to say, would inspire a strong feeling of admiration and attachment to those who have partly in their hands the destiny of Canada, if shorter hours of labour were granted.
(Translation.) Mr. Speaker, the question brought up by my hon. friend from Maison-neuve (Mr. Verville) is indeed one of the most important which this House can have to deal with, since every country in the world is up against that labour question which at times shakes society to its very foundations.
My hon. friend is a mechanic by trade, and as president of the labour congress, and a member of this House, from a constituency wherein the labour vote has a controlling influence, he may justly claim to be the representative of the Canadian labour element. His experience is great, his information large, and his opinion consequently must carry great weight with his hearers who have not so thoroughly gone into the study of the question. Accordingly, I am sure the government have listened to his remarks with becoming respect. However, I understand he is particularly anxious to have his views discussed; for thereby will there be greater light thrown on the subject and will the class of men whose interests he champions obtain a greater measure of assistance and justice. I listened with great attention to the speech so well prepared which he has just delivered. My 'turn of mind and my requirements put me in sympathy with his views, and I am ready as he is to make the sacrifice of my interests for the sake of improving the condition of the working classes of this country. I deplore myself, as he does, and as they do, the errors and unfairness of capalists; I hate, as he does, and as they do, the idea of being another man's slave, the servant of a fellow man endeavouring to get out of me as much as he can; I deplore, as he does, and as they do, the state of things whereby I am doomed to be a pauper during my life time, while next to me extravagance is making a foolish display of luxury, oftentimes the result of graft, of lawlessness, even of crime, all things which from time to time cause a feeling of revolt, a desire of asserting one's rights, with, as a final result, in the near future possibly, a world-wide disaster.
Society is by degrees getting out of kelter, and it does not seem as though the Creator in his impenetrable wisdom had wished that there should exist such a wide gulf between the various classes of men as is found to-day between an oppressive millionaire and a miserable pauper, his victim. Therefore an effort should be made to restore society to its normal state without, of course, doing away with that diversity of conditions, inseparable from the social life of human beings associated for a common object, dealing fairly between themselves, helping one another as brothers and fellow workers should do, and seeing to it that every one gets his share of the good things of the world as remuneration for his quota of intelligence, energy and labour. Such is the aim of the member for Maisonneuve, and I say it is sublime and patriotic. One way of dealing fairly with the working men, he says, would be to shorten the hours of work. In support of that contention he supplied well prepared data, and suggested that the principle might be applied to begin with in connection with public works paid out of the public chest, that is in part out of the pocket of the working-man himself.
Mr. Speaker, I am myself a working-man. I worked by the day, ten hours a day, at a salary of 80 cents a day, and I worked as a farmer on my farm. I worked also in factories. Many factories have I visited and I know farm work as a practical farmer must know it. I am also acquainted with lumbering and the work of the shantyman; I have been at various periods of my life employer as well as employee. My father was a working-man himself, a farmer all his life. My connections and my experiences are those of working-men, and I have the honour to represent here a community made up for the most part of farmers, intermixed with quite a number of shantymen and mill men, the majority of whom are in close sympathy with me and I with them, as in honour bound.
In the course of the last twenty years I spent in public life, I have often heard .that great labour problem^ dealt with by various persons, in all stations and classes of society. Quietly, and for my own per-
sonal satisfaction, I studied that problem and I consider it my duty, Mr. Speaker, to state my views on the matter at this critical period of our political history. If it be intolerable for the workingman to remain the dumb servant of capita], it is to my mind just as intolerable that honestly earned capital should be made the slave of its servant. If it be unfair that the workingman should be deprived of what is righteously coming to him, it is equally unfair that capital should be compelled by a man or a body of men to pay for that labour an exorbitant price. There is, then, or there should be a neutral ground where both parties can meet as friends. Would the granting of the eight hours' day solve the difficulty P I do not believe it f I am even inclined to think that it would make things worse.
Manual labour is not exhausting; it is a necessity of our condition, and we should accept it submissively. Please bear in mind that farmers work from ten to fifteen hours a day; and in support of my previous statement, I may add that farmers on an average live longer than any other class of society. So I say that a long day's work is not a factor of physical degeneracy. Besides, to my mind it is-entirely misleading to say, whatever statistics you may have in support, that a man, or machinery, can accomplish more in eight hours' than in ten hours' time. The result would be an increase in the cost of production, and necessarily an increase in the price of commodities of all kinds.
Now, if there are in the world products whose selling price varies greatly and fluctuates in sympathy with market quotations, there are others whose value varies little, as a rule. I mean farm products. Were we to create a condition of things, whereby the cost of production of these farm products may be possibly largely increased, while on the other hand, market quotations remain unaltered, very soon we would be face to face with a serious crisis t'houghout the world. For the farming population represent the majority of the country, represent the most important and the most useful of industries, and if we compel farmers to restrict their efforts to supplying their own wants, what will become of the country? It is an utter impossibility for the farmer to get as much work, not to speak of more work, from a man working a smaller number of hours; accordingly, the cost of production will increase too rapidly and his business will be imperilled.
It is contended that the eight-hour rule will not be applicable to farming, that it will be applied only as regards public works. But once the door is opened, where shall we stop? Why should not the same1 privilege be claimed in other quarters? To my mind, this proposal is a dangerous one, Mr. GIRAKD
and should be considered with a cool head and great caution by all working-men as well as public men.
Of course, there are exceptions to all rules; certain kinds of work cannot by common consent, be performed for ten or eight hours in seccession. Such eases are known, recognized, and nobody thinks of applying to them another rule. The child who is not fully developed should, when called upon to work for a living, or as a help to his family, be protected against protracted exertion which might break down his constitution. So also, the young woman should be protected against excessive labour until she has acquired her full developement. All are agreed as to that. But, as regards a fully developed man or woman, why should they not be let free to use their own judgment in the matter and exert themselvs to the full limit of their power? Instead of endeavouring to have a general shortening of the day's work, why not lay down as a rule that, the work being paid so much an hour, whoever is anxious to work longer hours will be free to do so. A strong and healthy man will work longer hours; he will earn more money, there will be greater inducement for him to exert himself, his family will be benefited thereby, and everything will go on more smoothly. Farmers work ten or fifteen hours a day and live older than others who work less.
The labouring man, in the workshop, or elsewhere, like the sturdy farmer, led onward by his strong common sense and his fondness of comfort, will work longer hours without impairing his health and with profit for his. future. Then, the price of labour being established at its real value per hour, the capital, whether agricultural or manufacturing, will have its share of justice and the equilibrium will be thoroughly established in the cost of living. No more strikes, with their financial disasters and their accompanying scenes of more or less sinister nature; no more of those continuous recriminations which too often bring trade to a standstill and indirectly paralyze business?
Supposing the value of this idea to be acknowledged, who shall determine the price of labour?
Why, simply a labour commission, composed of able men taken from all classes of the community, where the workmen will be represented. This commission, holding permanent session, each year, revising its schedules of the value of labour, which would be accepted by all interested parties, would govern labour, untrammelled by political control, and would deal fairly with all classes of the community.
Mr. Speaker, such is, to my mind, the only way to give justice to the working-
man-to leave him just what he is; a servant-hut at the same time to ensure his freedom by leaving him sole master of the employment of his time. Now, let us enact laws to make work as agreeable as possible; let the workshop be built according to the most up-to-date plans from a sanitary point of view; built so as to afford protection against accidents; let us compel corporations to pay wages regularly to working men from one to four times a month, so as to avoid-that which unfortunately happens too often-the withholding for months of salaries which are already too small, with the object of declaring dividends; let the workmen's salary be by law thoroughly secured by first mortgage, as a first lien, day after day, upon the product of their labour; whether movable or immovable property; without the present formalities which now cause heavy losses of the hard-earned salaries of honest workmen and fathers of families; let all the highway robbers who are selling on the streets, in the newspapers or otherwise, by means of false prospectus, bogus values or watered stocks, be unmercifully jailed; let an honest maTgin of profit be secured to manufacturing capital, and then let the workman be admitted to divide with his. employer; let an income tax be levied; let corporations and individuals be compelled to give annually to auditors appointed by the government, free access to their books, and let these auditors, after giving the employers their legal profits, apportion the workman's share and that of the people, and from that moment the war against capital, which is so intense and so spiteful to-day, will be brought to an end and the different classes of the community will deal with each other in a friendly spirit.
The great fortunes, the suddenness of which cause such rancour in the country, all necessarily come from the same source: the public funds. The indebtedness of the country figures up to hundreds of millions of dollars, and will soon be greatly increased. Take away from the circulation the whole amount, even if you lay aside the disbursement of the annual revenues, and where would our millionaires be? Since wealth is based on public money, it is therefore absolutely fair that the government and the community should have an adequate share of its profits which only exist through a concurrence of energy and good will which they themselves have directed, in which case the poor would be less poor, the rich would be as well off probably, and the community at large would be more evenly balanced.
I, therefore, most respectfully submit to the premier and this House that the best means to bring about a practical and fair settlement of the labour question would be
the appointment of a labour commission and the abolition of day labour by the enactment of the laws to which I have just referred.
By doing so the Dominion government and parliament will certainly make a great stride towards ensuring the solid progress of the country and will give a great example to other countries.
Mr. Speaker, at this stage of the session I do not intend to make a long speech on the very important subject which has been brought to our attention this afternoon by the hon. member for Maisonneuve (Mr. Yerville), who^ so ably represents the labour classes in this parliament. I must congratulate the hon. member upon his excellent speech on the subject of an eight hour day on government works. I am well aware that in the month of September last, the Trades and Laobur Congress of Canada, over which the hon. member presided, adopted a resolution in favour of the principle he has propounded this afternoon. But, Mr. Speaker, let me say at once that whilst that principle appeals to the sympathy and the deep sense of humanity and social justice in every one of us, I find that there are some very grave difficulties in the way of bringing about the happy state of things which my hon. friend has advocated. Unquestionably tne duty of parliament, as representing the nation, is to increase as much as possible the pleasures of the home life of every workingman and to multiply his opportunities for study, self-improvement and rest. In that connection I may recall to tne House that some years ago the Department of Labour, when that department had been in existence only a few months, instituted an investigation, under the Royal Seal, on the labour problems m the province of British Columbia, and that as a result the report of the Deputy Minister of Labour, Mr. Mackenzie King, now a member of the House of Commons, highly recommended the adoption of provincial legislation in favour of shorter hours in the British Columbia mines. I am pleased to state that the province of British Columbia has adopted that legislation, and that in the mines of that great province, one of the richest in the British empire, an eight hour law prevails to-day. The same "is true in the province of Alberta, where valuable coal mines have recently been opened up. But in this country, as in other countries, this question is still in the experimental stage. It has been adopted in certain industries. In nearly all the states of the American Commonwealth also there exists an eight hour law, but it has been limited to certain indus-
tries. For instance, in some of the western states, it has been adopted in irrigation works; in the mining states it has been adopted in the mines; and so on. In some of the large manufacturing states it has been adopted, but only for certain large industries. Farm work and domestic service, as a rule, have been excepted. It is true, there is also on the federal statute book of the United States an eight hour law; but from what we know in the Department of Labour it is hardly enforced. It is enforced in those states where it dove-tails, so to speak, with the state legislation. By the Bill introduced by my hon. friend last year, which he has been obliged to drop this year, and which I understand he intends to propose next year
My hon. friend knows that many public Bills have been dropped this year. For many obvious reasons, the hon. member for Maisonneuve has not been able to press this Bill, as he would have liked to press it; but I will take my share of the responsibility for that, and my hon. friend will pardon me if I enter into a personal explanation. When the hon. member for Maisonneuve was ready at the beginning of the session to introduce his Bill, I unfortunately was unable to be present owing to the illness of my son; and I may tell my hon. friend that this is no excuse invented for the present hour. I can assure my hon. friend that on two or three different occasions the hon. member for Maisonneuve was obliged to let his Bill stand on the Order Paper because I was away on account of illness in my family. I am sure that my hon. friend will accept my word; I would not have ventured to make this personal explanation if I were not sure that he would do so. In fact, I may say that it is through my intervention that my hon. friend has been able to bring up the question to-day in another form.
May I ask the hon. member if it was due to his absence from the House that this Bill was not pressed during the last session, which lasted eight months, during which this Bill was on the Order Paper in the name of the hon. member for Maisonneuve.
My hon. friend knows full well that the hon. member for Maisonneuve is the President of the Trades and Labour Council, a very important body, and that he himself, at the last congress at Halifax, moved a resolution in favour of an eight hour law. His views
on the subject are well known, and if through accident or otherwise he has been unable to press his Bill before the House, I think my hon. friend should not take advantage of that fact. This, at any rate, is a very small point, and I do not think we should stop to consider it. I say this with all due consideration to my hon. friend's objection.
If the hon. minister will allow me? If I did not bring that Bill up during the eight months session of last year, it was simply because, like a good many other public Bills on the Order Paper, it was not reached, and I am in the same position this year.
I hardly think that inference is a fair one. If my hon. friend from Maisonneuve were actuated solely by political motives, he would have promoted his Bill very assiduously last session. But he is acting from a humanitarian point of view, and it is from that point of view that I commend his conduct.
I do not think I should be asked to commit myself in advance to supporting any Bill before I have had the opportunity of examining it. When I see the Bill next session, I will give my opinion on it unless some other hon. gentleman should have the good fortune to be Minister of Labour in my place.
Does the minister mean to say that during the two sessions this Bill has been on the Order Paper and during the discussions and consultations he has had with the hon. member for Maisonneuve, he never saw the Bill.