April 17, 1918


Section agreed to. On section G-minister may in certain cases, with or without application, order a board or recommend an inquiry:


L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Will the minister explain why these subsections have been added to the original -section?

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UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Unionist

Mr. CROTHERS:

63A is intended to meet two or three sets of circumstances. For instance, there is the case where feelings become strained between employers and employees, but neither apply for a board, of conciliation. The proposition is that if a strike or lookout takes place in any .municipality, and neither party applies for a board, the municipality itself or an official of the municipality may apply to the Minister of Labour, and the Minister of Labour may-he is not obliged to do so- on such .application, establish a board. If neither of the parties, nor the municipality, nor an official of the municipality, applies for a (board, the minister may of his own motion constitute a board of concilation. That condition confronted us in Vancouver island some years ago. Another object in view ds, where there are a number of workmen, perhaps all belonging to one organization but working for five or six or eight or ten employers, to enable us to provide that a conciliation board may be appointed to deal with the situation. Under the old Act, a conciliation board could not be appointed in such a case, unless .all the employers consented to have one man act for them, because each employer would be entitled to have a representative on the board. We had -a case of that kind in Thetford Mines, where there was a considerable disturbance. Another case was in the Co-balt district, where there were -forty different employers with a large number of men, all or the majority of whom belonged to one

labour organization. We were unable, as the Act then stood, to appoint a conciliation board under the circumstances. This subsection is intended to meet a case of that kind.

At six o'clock the committee took recess.

After Recess.

The committee resumed .at eight o'clock.

On clause 6

Minister may in certain cases with or without application order a board or recommend an inquiry:

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L LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Laurier Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

When the committee rose at six o'clock, I was about to explain that I was in favour of the principle of this amendment and would go further and extend its scope. The clause reads:

"Where in any industry any strike or lockout has been long continued."

I do not like the expression "long continued." The word "long" is liable to cause a good deal of misconception and misapprehension, and should not be used in this connection, because it is too indefinite and elastic to suit the circumstances. In dealing with a subject of this kind, full explanation should interpret what is meant by "long" or "short." Iu the case of a lock-out the employer might consider the time was very short, while the employee, who is locked ou't and who probably is starving, might consider the time very long. I move to strike out the words "has -been long continued, and in the public interest or for any other reason." It would then read:

Where in any industry any strike or lockout it seems to the Minister expedient.

And so on. I understand the minister only interferes in cases of this kind where he is invited to do so, but it seems to me it should be his duty, in case of strike or lockout, to exercise his authority forthwith. The scope of the Act ought to be enlarged in such a way that the minister could really do some actual and tangible work in the matter of seeing that these strikes or lockouts are brought to an end within the shortest possible time. At the present juncture in our history, as hon. gentlemen know, labour and capital, must come together more closely than they have ever done in the past. We know in England the labour party practically controls the entire situation, and it is right they should1 do so. We heard the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Borden) state this afternoon, if I may he permitted to refer to- it, that a very large majority of

the men enlisted belong to the labouring classes, and we ought to see that the men belonging to such class are given all the protection possible. That also enures to the benefit of capital. It should be the duty of the minister to put an end to these strikes, if it is within his power to do so. At .present we permit the strikes to continue as if they were diseases, we allow the fever to. spend itself. The minister by this amendment only asks that he be permitted to interfere with matters of this kind when a strike has "long continued." Why "long continued?" Why not have .him act at once? If he is capable of doing anything *at the end of the chapter, why not have him do it at the beginning, or, in any event, make an attempt to do it? I am sure the duties of that department are not so onenous that the minister could1 not give his attention to. matters of this kind as soon, as the trouble develops. We know that when strikes occur bitter feeling is provoked at the beginning, and' it continues until, towards1 the end, very often we have riot and bloodshed. If the minister were to obtain power to at on-ce endeavour to bring the various factions togetner, it would he a splendid thing for both parties and would be an excellent thing for. the community in general. 1 nerefore, I move that the section be amended in the way I suggested.

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UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

It would not be put quite in that form. The hon. member desires the section to read in inis way?

Where in any industry any strike or lockout has occurred.

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L LIB
UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Unionist

Mr. CROTHERS:

My hon. friend has not read the whole section.

.Mr. JACOBS: I think I have.

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UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Unionist

Mr. CROTHERS:

Then I do not think

the hon. gentleman has comprehended it. It is- not confined toi a strike or lockout at all. It sayis:

Or for any other reason.

The minister does not require to wait for strike or lockout. He may do this of his own motion at any time. That appears in the sixth line.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

Is that not governed by the words "has been long continued?"

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UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Unionist

Mr. CROTHERS:

The clause says:

or for any other reason it seems expedient to the Minister, the Minister may on the application of any municipality interested, or of the Mayor, Reeve or other head officer or acting head officers thereof, or of his own motion.

He does not require to wait for any one. However, I have no objection to the amendment proposed.

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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:

The motion is to

strike out the words "been long continued" at the beginning of paragraph six, and insert in lieu thereof the word "occurred."

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Amendment agreed to. Bill reported, and amendment read first and second time and concurred in.


ORGANIZATION AND CO-ORDINATION OF EMPLOYMENT OFFICES.


On motion of Hon. T. W. CROTHERS (Minister of Labour) the House resolved itself into Committee of the Whole on the following resolution, Mr. Boivin in the Chair: Resolved, That it is expedient to aid and encourage the organization and co-ordination of Employment' Offices, and for these purposes to appropriate and pay out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of Canada during the fiscal year 191S-19 the sum of fifty thousand dollars, during the fiscal year 1919-20 the sum of one hundred thousand dollars, and' during each succeeding fiscal year the sum of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars; and to provide that the moneys appropriated for each year shall be allotted and paid to the government of the respective provinces in the proportion which their expenditure for the maintenance of employment offices bears to the total of the expenditures of all the provinces for such purposes, but in no case shall the allotment to a province exceed1 the amount expended for the maintenance of employment offices by such province ; and, further, that the payments shall he conditional upon agreement between the Minister and the government of . the province and subject to the approval' of the Governor in Council; and that such officers as are required to carry out these purposes may he appointed under the laws relating to the Civil Service, and their salaries and expenses paid out of moneys appropriated by Parliament for that purpose.


L LIB
UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Unionist

Mr. CROTHERS:

These labour exchanges are of several kinds; for instance, there are national, provincial, municipal; private, philanthropic and semi-philanthropic exchanges, Five of the provinces-Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia-have already established labour exchanges, but their operations are confined entirely to the particular province. It has been thought well that their lalbour exchanges should be linked up with a clearing house at Ottawa, and that we should contribute to the expense of establishing and maintaining them. The object of this legislation is to encourage the provinces in establishing these exchanges, and to assist in co-ordinating the work of the several

provinces. No other country in the world that has established a national system of labour exchanges is at all situated like Canada. In England, New Zealand, and, perhaps, some of the smaller countries of Europe, there is a national system of labour exchanges, but on account of the vast extent of this country it has not been considered wise to establish a national system here. Sometimes interprovincial questions will arise in connection with having labour transferred from one province to another, and it was thought that if we had' a clearinghouse at Ottawa to receive reports from the clearing houses of the several provinces we should here be able to get a bird's eye view of the labour situation in Canada, and could issue bulletins so that the people throughout the whole country would know exactly what labour conditions were in each locality.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

The House will expect a fuller explanation on the second reading of the Bill, but the principle of the resolution will, I think, commend itself to the judgment of the House. Upon two different occasions-last session and the session ibefore -I moved1 a resolution with the object of having my hon. friend introduce legislation similar to this. I do not know whether be was in fear of a certain lady who was very active in the proposed organization of labour bureaus, but he certainly was not very responsive to the requests which I then made.

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UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Unionist

Mr. CROTHERS:

She has disappeared since.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

I am told that the lady in question, much to the relief of my hon. friend and possibly of the Prime Minister, is now in the employ of the Department of Labour tin Washington. I 'certainly think the minister is taking a proper step in introducing this legislation. National labour bureaus were first started in England where they have met with very great success, as shown by statistics which I have given to the House on two different occasions. Labour 'bureaus have also been established in Australia and New Zealand, and to-day they are perfecting their organization in the United States. I am quite sure that in Canada, especially in view of conditions that will prevail in this country when demobilization takes place, and when the munition factories will be idle and the works of peace begin again, such bureaus will be absolutely needed in order to open the necessary channels for labour, and particularly for our returned soldiers. I am quite sure that when we have had

an opportunity to examine the provisions of the Bill it will commend itself to the judgment of the -House.

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

From the terms of the resolution I -would understand that it is not contemplated to have any Ottawa organization, -hut that this money is to be appropriated entirely to the provincial governments.

'Mr. CROTHERS: These particular

sums are to go to the provinces, but the Bill will provide for the establishment by this Government of one or more clearing houses.

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April 17, 1918