Now, Mr. Speaker, let me point out that the government has introduced in public contracts a fair wages schedule insisting that the hours of labour on government contracts shall be those current at the place of employment, and this was granted at the request of organized labour. Now, it is not sufficient for this government to say, when labour asks for an eight hour day: Oh, never mind that, we will think it over, and we will gather information; we gave you a fair wages schedule and insisted on current hours of labour under government contracts. Why, Mr. Speaker, what contractor could hope to obtain anything else but current hours of labour under his contract? If a contractor undertakes to erect a public work at Vancouver or at Sydney, can he hope to obtain any other than the current hours of labour at Vancouver or at Sydney, and would it not follow that those would naturally be the hours of labour, whether they were embodied in the government contract or not? The same with regard to a fair wages schedule. The wages that obtain in Victoria and obtain in Sydney are well known to the trades in those places, and contractors seeking for workingmen in those places will find it difficult to get such labour at a lesser schedule, even if there were no fair wages schedule in government contracts. _
With regard to the applicability of this Bill in its present form, I do not feel like supporting it in all its details. It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that from the point of view of that part of Nova Scotia from which I come, it would not be in the best interests of labour, nor would it be in the best interests of the industries there to adopt this Bill in its present form. This government bought from the different coal mines of Nova Scotia last year, for the use of the Intercolonial alone, coal to the value of nearly $1,750,000. I must say that whilst practically an eight hour day obtains amongst the miners of that province who are employed at the working face, it would be impracticable, almost physically impossible, for any of the coal mining companies in Nova Scotia to furnish coal to the government under the provisions of section 1 of this Bill as it stands at present.
At six o'clock, House took recess.
House resumed at eight o'clock.