February 26, 1915

LIB

William F. Carroll

Liberal

Mr. CARROLL:

At what dates did the 20 correspondents resign, and were . their resignations voluntary?

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CON

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS:

I could not give my

hon. friend the dates, which would be spread over a period of three years, but I can get the information for him.

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LIB

William F. Carroll

Liberal

Mr. CARROLL:

In a return brought down March 4, 1914, this question was asked:

How many employees of the Federal Government of Canada, including all services and all departments, have been dismissed from October 10, 1911, to the present date?

That would cover a period of three years and some months. The next question was:

How many have resigned, including employees of the Federal Government of Canada in all services and In all departments?

The answer was:

One resigned and one transferred to another department.

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CON

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS:

I think that is a mistake on my hon. friend's part. I have before me the answers to the questions so far as the Labour Department is concerned. The answer to the first question is 21, and to the second, 24.

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LIB
CON

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS:

I am not responsible

for that; I never saw the return except so far as it was connected with the Labour Department. I have given the answers which were made to the questions so far as they apply to the Labour Department; if in the hon. gentleman's return the answer is. given as one, there must be an error somewhere.

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LIB

William F. Carroll

Liberal

Mr. CARROLL:

How many officers are

there in the Department of Labour at the present time, including correspondents and outside employees?

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CON

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS:

I think the exact number including correspondents, is 109.

V

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LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL:

Were any correspondents of the Labour Gazette dismissed for political reasons, or is the paper a non-political publication?

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CON

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS:

When I was placed in charge of the department I asked an officer to report on the efficiency of the labour correspondents throughout Canada. The officer, who was a Liberal, reported that in

many cases the work was not efficient or satisfactory, and we dispensed with the services of those to whom this applied. Three were relieved of their duties because of political partisanship.

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LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL:

With respect to the large number of unemployed in Montreal and in other Canadian cities, has the minister information as to whether matters are improving, remaining stationary or getting worse, or whether there is any probability of an improvement within the next few months? So far as Montreal is concerned, the matter is getting to be very serious.

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CON

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS:

Part of the duties of the Labour Gazette correspondents is to report monthly as to the conditions of employment in their various localities. Before the war broke out in July last I circularized these correspondents and requested them to answer certain questions with regard to unemployment, prices, wages, etc., and since that time they have been sending in weekly reports. In addition to that, the fair wage officers, of whom we have five, have covered their respective territories three times and have sent in three special reports checking up the reports made by the correspondents of the Labour Gazette. As the number of unemployed varies from day to day and from week to week, we have not been able to take anything like a census, but we have had an estimate made, based on information received from relief officers, heads of labour organizations and others specially interested in these subjects in the various localities. A great deal has been done to relieve unemployment. The Immigration Department has 163 special officers engaged all over Canada, who strive to have men placed upon the farms. They have also 30 regular agents whose offices 4 p.m. since the war broke out have virtually been turned into labour exchange bureaux; these officers have located a great many men on the farms. Private labour exchanges have also located a great many. Then the war has given employment to many. About 100,000 have enlisted with our troops and many thousands are engaged at the present time in making bodies for shells for the British Government. There are about a hundred factories engaged in that work in Canada at the present time. Since the 1st August last many thousands have been employed in manufacturing supplies for the Militia Department. Our reports, which are right up to date, show that conditions are not 314

nearly so bad as they were a few months ago. Now let us see what the provinces are doing. The Government of British Columbia early undertook to look after the unemployed in that province by providing road work and making loans to municipalities to enable them to carry on public works. The Government of Alberta is also advancing large sums of money to several municipalities to enable them to find work for the unemployed and to provide relief work. For instance, it is giving some seven thousand dollars a month to Calgary, and about the same amount to Edmonton, fifteen hundred dollars a month to Medicine Hat and Lethbridge, and a small amount to Taber, a small place south of Lethbridge. In Manitoba there is very little unemployment. The Immigration Department has distributed amongst the farmers of Manitoba some four or five thousand men from the city of Winnipeg. As regards the East, there is very little complaint from the maritime provinces. Montreal and Toronto have more grounds for complaint as regards unemployment than any other cities in the Dominion. There have been a large number out of work in Montreal and Toronto, and I believe a considerable number still are out of work in those two cities. But outside of these two places there is not much to complain about at the present time. The Agricultural Department has relieved the situation in Toronto by sending many men out to the farms. Altogether things are getting better. Several thousand men have also been interned by the Justice Department. Shortly after the war began I wrote to all the provincial premiers making suggestions on these lines, and I got satisfactory replies from all except from the Premier of Quebec. The others said they would look after their own unemployed. The only reply I got to my letter to the Premier of the province of Quebec was an assurance that he would place my communication before his colleagues; that was all. I think the province of Quebec is the only one where nothing has been done by the Provincial Government towards relieving the unemployed.

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LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL:

It is mostly mechanics or labourers who make up the unemployed in the city of Montreal?

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CON

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS:

Mostly unskilled

labourers. I have a detailed statement here from one of my fair wage officers, and it shows that a good many engaged in the building trades in Montreal are out of

4&4

work. I understand that the Montreal Builders' Exchange proposed last fall to continue building operations as far as possible, provided the mechanics would accept a certain rate of wages. The mechanics, however, would not agree and the members of the Builders' Exchange said they could not afford to go on erecting buildings at any other rate, and so work was stopped.

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LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL:

Can the minister tell us whether the Dominion proposes to do anything in the near future towards relieving the unemployed in Montreal and Toronto?

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CON

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS:

Last week I sent to Montreal Mr. DuBreuil, who has charge of that sort of work in the province of Quebec, to make a thorough investigation in a good many directions. He is to give me a detailed report, but I have not got it yet. 1 will be pleased to show it to my hon. friend when it comes.

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LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL:

I know the minister is cognizant of the condition of affairs in Montreal, for he reads our papers. Only last week the Archbishop called on the Board of Control to ask that money should be distributed amongst the needy. The oldest residents say that things have never been so bad, and I am glad to know that the minister is following the situation, and will do all he can to relieve the very serious conditions existing in Montreal at the present time.

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LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR:

The minister has not told us how he proposes to relieve conditions in Montreal and Toronto. Investigations are all right, but conditions have been bad for a long time now, and while the investigation is being carried on people are going about hungry. I saw in a Toronto paper the other day that a large procession of labour men paraded the streets of that city with this device on their flags: ' British subjects we were born, and British subjects we will soon be dead.' The minister no doubt has been thinking over the matter, and I think the House is entitled to hear what solution he proposes for this serious state of affairs.

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CON

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS:

My hon. friend knows as well as I do that unemployment can be relieved to a greater or less extent in many ways. The Dominion Government for instance, can go on with public works if it has plenty of money, and in that way give work to the unemployed. The provincial Governments and municipalities, if they have money, can also do the same thing. My hon. friend, perhaps could set half a

'

dozen men to work. I wonder if he has done it. If he has not, perhaps he has not fully done his duty. In a time of depression such as this, the Federal Government, Provincial Governments, municipalities and individuals should all join together and help the unemployed. Each one should do his part; that is the only remedy I know of.

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LIB

February 26, 1915