I must say that I expected, when my hon. friend began his remarks, that he would deal with this question from the point of view of the interests concerned, and the public welfare, and that he would not have introduced into the discussion editorials from party journals that have been written certainly for political purposes, and not to alleviate the situation in the west at the present time. If there is one thing above another which to my mind, is all important in connection with the western situation at the present time, it is that it should not he made a matter of party politics. The moment it is attempted to make political capital out of the serious industrial situation in the west at the present time, that moment the difficulty of settlement is going to become increased, and a heavy onus will rest upon those who take that course in approaching this question. The government, through the Department of Labour, has tried to deal with this question in a fearless and a direct manner. When the cessation of operations took place, the first step taken was to endeavour to get the parties to agree to allow the dispute to be investigated, so that the public might know what were the causes of the dispute, and what would be a fair basis of settlement. As a result of the method by which the department approached the question at that juncture, we were able, without any act of compulsion, to get the parties voluntarily to agree to refer the matter to a board. I admit that it took a little time. But I may say that any other method would not have accomplished the result at all, that the parties would not have willingly referred their differences to a board if we had tried to coerce them. By adopting the method of voluntary conciliation, we were successful in getting the parties to go before a board, and in having a hoard investigate the conditions. That board has gone into the matter fully, and the report which has been presented by the board gives to the public I think an intelligent idea of the causes which are at the bottom of this dispute. It does more than that, it outlines what, in the opinion of the hoard, appears to he a fair basis of settlement of the dispute. It is true that it has taken the board a considerable time to get through its work; but hon. gentlemen must remember that the dispute in British Columbia and Alberta at the present time is one of the largest mining disputes that has ever taken place on this continent. There are some 18 different mining companies affected; there are 18 locals oAhe United Mine Workers affected. The dispute is not one which could have been dealt with quickly, if it were to he dealt with intelligently and thoroughly.
The chairman of the board has very wisely taken the view that if this western situation is to be satisfactorily solved at all it will not be by going superficially into the matter, but by investigating the difficulty thoroughly and giving to the public as full an account of the situation as it is possible to give, at the same time making recommendations which, in the light of all the information, he has reason to feel will furnish a fair basis of settlement The board's report has been given out. It is not unreasonable to hope that the parties, having before them the report of the board, although up to the present, they have not seen their way to reach a settlement, will now use that report as a basis for coming to an agreement.
Subtopic: THE COAL STRIKE.