April 16, 1918

L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

If I understand the matter aright, all statistics pertaining to labour will be collected in the Labour Department; those pertaining to agriculture will be gathered by the Department of Agriculture. The statistics pertaining to the Department of Trade and Commerce are now prepared in that department, and we get them monthly or bi-monthly, I cannot say which, in special issues. My idea is that all statistics having reference to the Dominion should be within the jurisdiction of the Statistical Bureau Which is being organized by the Minister of Trade and Commerce. If we are going to be compelled to go to the various departments to get statistics as heretofore, I fail to see the necessity of the bureau which is being established. If that bureau is to obtain the statistics of this country, I do not see the use of statistical branches in the other departments.

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

The Minister of Trade and Commerce this afternoon explained the object of his Bill. The hon. member knows that the Customs Department, for instance, issue a blue-book every year of customs statistics, and the Trade and Commerce Department issue another, and other departments issue their own statistics. The object of the bureau is to compile them altogether. Each department, of course, must gather its own statistics and hand them over to the Trade andi Commerce Department, and there they will all be compiled in one volume. In that way, you have them all together under one department to be put before the public in book form. That was the object of the Bill. The hon. member will quite understand that, in each of the departments where it is necessary to compile statistics, you must have employees to gather these statistics.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Then it would come to

this, that the Department of Trade and Commerce is establishing a bureau which will publish a resume of the statistics of all the other departments. Why not leave it as it is now if you are not going to get any more information?

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

I do not see how that can be discussed now. The Bill was reported to-day, and will come up for third reading to-morrow. Then will be the time

to renew the discussion and get any further information. But the hon. member, I think, will understand that the -object of that Bill is as I have stated, instead of having every department publishing blue books, with * statistics, 'some probably not agreeing with those issued by another department, and thus misleading the public, to have the bureau co-ordinate them all. Some men have said to me, comparing the statistics of trade issued by the Customs Department with those issued by the Trade and Commerce Department: They are not the same; you should get the different departments together, see that they are right, and then publish statistics that are accurate. That is the reason why the bureau will' have supervision of all statistics.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

I am not discussing the advisability of the Bureau of Statistics. As the Minister of Railways says, the Bill has been reported. But now comes a discussion as to whether these appropriations for departmental statistics are advisable or not. If we are to have a bureau of statistics-and I think we should have all the information we can get-why should we duplicate its work in the Department of Labour or in the Department of Agriculture? Now is the proper time to discuss the necessity for this particular item, and I do not see that it is necessary. I admit that this bureau is one where you will have all the information you require from all the departments of the Government. If that is so, and I think it is properly so, why should we have a repetition of the same thing in each department? That is the reason I want information. If it is not necessary, I do not desire to see an item for statistics go through for the Department of Labour. If the minister can show the necessity for this work to be done in his department, in addition to the work of the bureau which seems to he an improvement on the present system, we will have to let the item through. Otherwise, I do not see the necessity for it.

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L LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Shall the item carry?

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L LIB
L LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Shall the item carry?

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L LIB
UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Unionist

Mr. CROTHERS:

I think I have already said enough to show the necessity for gathering statistics in the Labour and other

departments. The bureau provided for in the Bill introduced' by the Minister of Trade and Commerce this afternoon did not pretend, for instance, to gather the statistics that are known and gathered in. the Department of Agriculture, or in the Customs, or the Post Office, 'or the Labour Departments. We keep track, for instance, of the strikes that occur, and it is not intended at all that the bureau should undertake to report on all the strikes in Canada, or the hoards of conciliation, or the wages, or the food and other prices, or the exports and imports of this country. I do not remember whether the Minister of Trade and Commerce mentioned it this afternoon, but I know it is not his intention to undertake the work now done in the several departments.

Industrial Disputes Investigation Act, $25,000.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

I understand that the

hoo. minister is bringing in some amendments to the Industrial Disputes Investigation Act, and when his Bill comes up for second reading, and is in the committee stage, we will talk about the Industrial Disputes Investigation Act.

Mr. MaMASTER: I would like to repeat the question I asked in regard to the previous item. What number of disputes were investigated and adjusted by the department during the last year?

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UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Unionist

Mr. CROTHERS:

There were about thirty boards of conciliation appointed under this Act.

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L LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

How does that compare with the year before?

Mr. 'CROTHERS: There were not quite

so many last year as the year before.

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L LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

Would there not be

room then for a decrease in the amount of the estimate, economy being the watchword we all have before us?

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UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Unionist

Mr. CROTHERS:

The probabilities are

that the expenditure under this item will foe larger than it has been owing to the fact that, as I mentioned a few minutes ago, the scope of the Act has been very materially broadened so as to take in the enterprises I referred to.

Fair Wages and Inspection Officers, $15,000.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

What is the special purpose of this appropriation?

Mr. iCROTHERS: We have, I think, five fair wage officers. They are called fair wage officers, because when they were originally appointed their work was largely

confined to fixing schedules of wages on public works. We are not doing very much by way of public works now and have not been for some years, neither has their work been confined to that sort of thing. They are largely employed in settling disputes and differences between employers and employees before these reach the stage where a board of conciliation is applied for. For instance, we have >a man located at Vancouver. Some six years ago we had only two of these men, both located at Ottawa. These differences between employers and employees often arise in a few hours, and previously, if they occurred at Vancouver or Sydney, a big strike might be on before our men could get to these distant places. One of the first things I did was to send to Vancouver one of the best men we had, so that he would be right on the ground to hear the rumblings of labour disturbances and to check them before they became serious. This man has saved the Government many thousands of dollars; he has kept men at work who would otherwise have been on strike and, on the whole, has rendered very valuable service by being on the ground. We appointed other men at Calgary, Winnipeg and Saskatoon, and they did valuable work in assisting in the maintenance of industrial peace. We have been especially fortunate in keeping our working people at work; no serious disturbances have occurred in Canada since the outbreak of war. That speaks well for the employers and employees, as well as for those officers who have devoted their best efforts to keeping things running smoothly. These are the men mentioned here as fair wage officers.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

The fair wage clause has certainly been a boon to labour. The unfortunate thing is that it applies only to public works, not to private industry.

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UNION
L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

Yes. Was not an arrangement made between the Government and the munition factories for the application of the fair wage clause in munition works?

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UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Unionist

Mr. CROTHERS:

There is an understanding between the Imperial Munitions Board and the Department of Labour that we shall co-operate for the maintenance of industrial peace. We inquire into any complaints made by workers in munition factories, and the Imperial Munitions Board assist in settlements. The Imperial Munitions Board have gone so far as to cancel contracts in cases where we advised that em-

[Mr. Crothers.l

ployers were not paying fair wage or treating employees fairly. Contractors have come to understand that the Imperial Munitions Board will go that far if necessary; consequently no very serious disputes have arisen in munition factories since they began operation in Canada.

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April 16, 1918