April 23, 1918

L LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DEVLIN:

If we are going to aid in the winning of this war in every way possible we must do so by conserving what we can of the taxes of the people and directing them towards war expenditure. The minister told me a moment ago that he could take some men in his department and utilize them for the purpose of collating the information that is to be got from the different provincial clearing houses. I can understand that. But what I want to direct the minister's attention to is the fact that he must have in his department employees who are at present free from work of any kind. I presume he must have had up to a few days ago. For instance, he had a cost of living examiner or commissioner. He found, for one reason or another, that he could dispense with this gentleman's services and he did dispense with them. I am not criticising the minister at the present moment for dispensing with his services. That may come up later.. But we know that he dispensed with his services and he has given the further information to the newspapers in Toronto that he would not be inclined to take him back because he had submitted what he had written to the Commissioner and he had received certain answers. If the commissioner was not necessary he should not have been kept on. He could not have been, necessary because he has not been replaced. If the commissioner was not necessary the staff employed by him cannot be necessary and therefore could easily be dispensed with. This staff, for instance, might be given the work_ of collating this information and some saving might be made in that way. On the other hand, we find that every time a Bill such as this is proposed, which purports to create some bureau or service, we have enormous expenditures. Take, for instance, the cost of the Food Controller's office. That is costing the country, I dare say, millions of dollars per year. There is a staff of hundreds and they are paid thousands and thousands of dollars, a great deal of which money could be saved to the people of the country and diverted directly to war channels. I would ask the minister if he has in his mind, as a result of the passage of this Bill, the idea of creating a new staff other than that which he has in his department in order to carry

on tile work of what he styles a clearing house, or if he will give to the House an assurance that no outside help will be taken in and that the work will be done by employees of this department under the salaries they are getting now.

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UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Unionist

Mr. CROTHERS:

The position occupied by Mr. O Connor would not have been created had it not been considered necessary for the administration of the Order in Council passed early in November, 1916. I thought it was necessary to have such a man as Mr. O'Connor in the department, and arrangements have been made for another man to take his place. I think the public interest will not suffer in the least 'by the appointment of the new man who is to take that place. I have no idea now of establishing a separate staff, but I am not in a position to promise my hon. friend that it will not be necessary to have one, or two, or three additional clerks in the department. I think I can assure my hon. friend that there will be nobody engaged in that department to do work who is not necessary, and when I tell him that the expenditure of the department has not increased in the last six years he will be satisfied that I am keeping the cost down as low as possible.

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UNION

Hugh Boulton Morphy

Unionist

Mr. MORPHY:

I would like to have a little information from the minister as to the co-ordination of effort between the provincial governments and this Government. There is nothing here to compel a provincial government to establish an employment office or clearing house unless it wishes to do so. It must be by agreement, as I read the Act. Suppose a provincial government does not see eye to eye with the minister, does not create an employment bureau, or fails to come in to the clearing house, what provision has the minister against that? Does he propose to allow one-half of the Dominion to go without that operative machinery which will make a complete system? In case a province sdys: We will not have anything to do with this, has the minister any guarantee or assurance from the provinces that they will co-operate in this measure? Has the minister provided, in the event of the failure of a province to come in, that the Dominion shall open an employment office in such province so as to get the information and make the system complete? Has the minister any information from the provinces tending to insure the smooth and easy working of the Bill, which, on the whole, is commendable?

(Mr. CROTTHERS: I can only say that,

so far as five of the provinces are concerned, they have shown a good deal of anxiety in this direction, and are moving forward quite rapidly. Two or three of the province's I have no communications with. But I think that thk inducement we are holding out in this Bill, substantially to pay to each province one-half of what it expends in this direction, will be sufficient inducement for them to do, as the other provinces have done, namely to legislate and establish labour bureaus. If they do not do so, it will be a matter for future consideration.

Mr. MIORP'HY: In that. case, I would [DOT]call the minister's attention to the fact that this whole scheme, if it is so necessary to be inaugurated now, would fall to the ground for lack of a comprehensive scheme covering the whole Dominion, and his Bill is only partially effective throughout the whole of the Dominion.

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UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Unionist

Mr. CROTHERS:

We have practically

six out of nine provinces now lined up.

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UNION

Donald Sutherland

Unionist

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

I have followed

with a good deal of interest the statements of the Minister of Labour with regard to this Bill. I quite realize that the Department of Labour should be the department under which the placing of labour could be most appropriately carried on. On several occasions during the past few years,

I have pointed out the conditions which have existed throughout the various provinces with regard to the placing of labour, and the abnormal conditions under which we are now living have intensified the situation, making it much more imperative to co-ordinate this system, and have a broad, comprehensive policy with regard to this question, rather than having it divided up among a numbeT of Governmental departments under the federal and provincial jurisdictions. I thought, and have contended for years, that the immigration department should not be coupled up with the Department of the Interior. Heretofore, the placing of labour has been carried on, I believe, almost entirely by the Department of the Interior through the minister and the immigration officials. Lately we have had a separation, and a Ministry of Immigration has been formed, and estimates have been put through this House increasing the expenditure under that department, L did hope that this new arrangement would accomplish the object I have had in my

mind for many years past, of co-ordinating and consolidating these various interests, but I am inclined to think that under the present proposal, we will be quite a little farther away from that idea than we were before. I do not believe it will work out to the very best advantage. The Department of Immigration, for instance, has in the province of Ontario, I believe, over one hundred officers scattered throughout the various counties. It also has officers in certain cities of the province to carry on employment work. Now, it is proposed to encourage the provinces generally to carry on similar work by making them a grant through a department other than the Department of Immigration. I believe that this method will hardly accomplish the best results. The placing of labour at the present time is a very important matter. It is referred to in clause 7 of the Bill, which reads:

That the offices shall endeavour to fill situations in all trades and for (both male and female employees

The Department of Immigration receives reports constantly from its officers in many parts of the province of Ontario and Western Canada, which are published. By arranging to * have another set of reports along similar lines come through, the Department of Labour, in my opinion, will not accomplish the best results, but will be more confusing. I believe this matter should be consolidated as much as possible. With the situation arising because or the drafting of men for overseas service, and the need by reason of this fact which will arise to place men in other occupations, it seems to me that this is a matter which, at the present time, should be almost entirely under the Federal authority, instead of being delegated to the several provinces.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

I said the other evening, when the Minister of Labour introduced this legislation by way of resolution, that, on general lines, I approved of the policy of establishing labour bureaus throughout Canada. I stated then, and I repeat now, that my hon. friend seems to be a convert to this idea. On two>

different occasions during past sessions I brought the matter up by way of motion before the House, and on two occasions' the minister made light of the question. This year, I am pleased to say, he has accepted the views which were held not only by your humble [DOT] servant, but by many friends of labour in Canada and in the United States as well. My hon. friend intends to promote the establishment of these labour bureaus by a

money grant paid out of a special fund which will be appropriated to that end, to those of the provinces which will accept the principle of this legislation. He states that already six provinces have labour bureaus or employment offices. The amount to be appropriated is not large, but I believe that if well spent it may produce good results. There is no question that, in view of the reconstruction period ahead" of Canada, the establishment of labour bureaus will be very much needed indeed. The minister may well look to what has been done in this connection by the Mother Country and Iby Australia and New Zealand, where the labour element, I might say the Labour party, is to-day predominant. To any one of us who has read the speech delivered not long ago by that eminent British labour leader, Mr. Henderson, or the platform of the Labour party in England for the coming general elections, it is clear that in Great Britain labour will be the dominant factor before long, if it is not .so now. My hon. friend, however, does not seem to do enough, in imy judgment, for labour in Canada. I do not wish to play the demagogue, but in view of what must 'be done during the reconstruction period after the war, the Government should now take steps to provide for the interests of labour after peace is concluded. A more drastic and businesslike policy should be adopted than that which ;is embodied in the present legislation, commendable though it may be. When peace is declared, industry in this country and all over the North American continent will be disorganized and dislocated. Men and women who since 1914 have been employed in munition plants will be removed from these activities and virtually left on the street. Employers of labour will be forced, so to speak, to empty factories 'and plants which have been engaged in the production of munitions; men and women who have taken the place of soldiers in industrial establishments and manufacturing plants will be turned out, and the plants themselves will have to be remodelled. As was pointed out the other day by an hon. gentleman who is affiliated with the Labour party, a remarkably large number of men engaged in industrial work enlisted in the Canadian overseas forces. Imagine the condition of things when peace is concluded. Men and women now employed will be on the streets; plants will be idle for a time owing to the necessity of their being remodelled, and the soldiers will be returning to Canada, many of them anxious to obtain the positions they occu-

pied before they went away. It is good policy to provide for labour bureaus, but the Government must go one step further; they must foresee the conditions that will arise when peace is declared. The conditions affecting labour when this war is over will be much -more serious than labour conditions were in England and in France after Waterloo and the Crimean war, and after other great wars. Conditions of labour and employment after a period of war are always such as require serious consideration and attention. If the soldiers who return to Canada are not provided with work; if the operation of manufactories and industrial plants is suspended or interfered wtith, there may be unrest; the times will be revolutionary. The Government, therefore, should provide now for the better equipment of the labour of Canada when the war is over. How could my hon. friend better serve the interests of labour than by giving to returned soldiers and to persons now employed in labour throughout Canada a better technical education? The Imperial Trades Commission, in their last report to the British and Dominion Governments, made specific recommendations on this subject. If Canada is to take a lead after the war in the industrial battle that will then be waged, our labour must be equipped to meet its rivals on that occasion. Some years ago the Ontario Labour Commission made similar recommendations, and I see now that the manufacturers and business men of Toronto are working on the same problem. Not later than this morning I received from the Canadian Industrial Reconstruction Association an outline of the work to be undertaken by that new body. It will endeavour to assist in the development and extension of technical education. It will maintain a sympathetic attitude towards projects of land settlement. It will extend co-operation among rural producers and endeavour to improve rural conditions. It will give its support to movements, whether directed by leaders of labour or employers of labour, which aim at establishing fair working agreements between workers and employers and improving relations between labour and capital. Recognizing the equal rights of citizenship which women have acquired, it will seek to improve their position in industry and to cooperate, so far as opportunity offers, with women's organizations in investigating and improving conditions which peculiarly affect the domestic, social and industrial welfare of women. My hon. friend can take a [Mr. Lemieux.l

lesson from the programme of this Industrial Reconstruction Association. The Bill which we are considering is a good one, in a way, but the only power taken by my hon. friend is to grant to some of the provinces various amounts of money, based, I suppose, on population. Reports will then be made to the Labour Department in Ottawa as to the work of these labour bureaus. I do not see that it is at all necessary, in connection with the work of these labour bureaus to -spend any money -at Ottawa, because you have here the whole machinery of the Labour Department to collect the statistics which may come from the various labour bureaus in the provinces. It, therefore, seems to me that by this Bill my hon. friend does not materially assist labour and does not foresee the period of reconstruction which, I hope, is fast approaching.

I have just mentioned this Industrial Reconstruction Association programme. The manufacturers of Canada, are wide awake. They are looking after the interests of labour; they are looking -after the interests of the farmers; hut, of course, they are, in -their circular, also looking after the interests of number one. All this deep irfterest in the farmer and in labour is to conclude by the assertion of the rights of the -Canadian manufacturers to get from the Government a higher -tariff when the proper time comes. My hon. friend, therefore, should not be satisfied with establishing labour bureaus, he. should also see that a proper allowance is made to the various provinces in order to stimulate the cause of technical education in Canada. We have, in every province in Canada, a most intelligent class of labourers. I am sorry to say that only a few of the provinces have promoted the cause of technical education. It is technical education which has given England, Scotland, Germany, France, the United States, their lead in- thei industrial world. Off Canada is to follow that lead, Canada should do something towards equipping her labourers by imparting to them that very necessary technical knowledge. If you have in Canada a well equipped labourer, if he has, at the technical school, attained the secrets of his craft, you do not require a tariff for the'employer or for the employee. The Canadian manufacturer and the Canadian labourer, provided the latter is given the technical educational assistance which the labourer in- other countries receives, can compete with the world. I rose just to make those observations. I support the Bill, but I do not think that the Minister of Labour is

doing enough for the cause of labour. I hope that the money grants appropriated by this Bill will not be wasted. There is no need for more officers in the Labour Department at Ottawa. This money is to be paid to the various provinces for the establishment of labour bureaus. Let my hon. friend, through his correspondents of the Labour Gazette, gather all the data, all the statistics, and the grant would thus be wisely spent. But once more I say: This is, it seems to me picayune legislation. My hon. friend should be bold, he should assert himself as the leader of labour in Canada, and see that for the reconstruction period our labourers get the technical education which the Governments of other countries are freely giving to their fellow men of the working class.

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UNION

John Hampden Burnham

Unionist

Mr. BURNHAM:

It would be a great calamity if this legislation should not pass. It may be quite true that not all that could be desired is comprised within the four corners of this Bill, but if we are advancing we are doing something.

Section 3 states that:

The Minister is authorized and1 empowered,-

(a) to aid and encourage the organization and co-ordination of employment offices and to promote uniformity Oif methods among them;

(to) to establish one or more clearing houses for the interchange of information between employment offices concerning the transfer of labour and other matters;

(c) to compile and distribute information received from employment offices and from other sources, regarding prevailing conditions of employment.

Surely no one can object to that broad, general and comprehensive statement, and, at the same time, have a real idea as to the requirements and development of labour conditions in this country. If we do not have co-ordination, we have confusion. Coordination is, therefore, very plainly, absolutely necessary. It is also very plain that, in the past, we have not had co-ordination. That is one of the weaknesses of the Federal system of government. The rapprochement of the provinces with the Dominion is one of the most difficult of things to bring about. Therefore, everything that leads up to that, to the identification and consolidation of their aims and actions in a matter of this kind must surely be viewed with an encouraging eye. A clearing house for information is, of all things, the most necessary and the most sane. To sit down and discuss what is actually taking place means, with sane people, that the difficulty will shortly be removed. Not to have a clearing house means that when men sit down to consider

the question they will not really know what they are speaking about, and their actions will be in the future as thgy have been in t'be past, very largely a misfit and a misfire. People, scientifically minded, will at once admit that your information must be accurate and carefully gathered. Then, if it is not properly dealt with, that is due to the mental weakness and incapacity of those who assume the reins of government. But it is impossible for the wisest man, for the man with the moist acute intellect, to deal properly with anything on wrong premises, and unless such a clearing house is established no Minister of Labour can possibly do justice to labour conditions.

The third clause regarding the compiling and distribution of information follows from those preceding it. It enables the minister to deal with the problem of aiding and encouraging the organization and co-ordination of employment offices and the establishment of clearing houses, for the interchange of information between employment offices. The rest of the Bill, apart from the earlier provisions which I have mentioned, is merely a statement of technicalities. This is the first time, to my knowledge, that I have ever seen a determination upon the part of this House to clothe the Minister of Labour with ample power and to justify his existence.

When this Bill is passed and a clearing house is established, the minister will be ,able to find out just how and when and where labour should be employed, and he will have every means within his grasp for dealing with the labour problems of Canada. After he has made known to working men the conditions and circumstances throughout the country, it will be for them to come forward and deal with them in an individual way, and as loyal *and enterprising citizens, as we know them to be, they will do it. But if we do not empower the minister to deal with these matters, we are simply asking labour throughout the country to look in vain to the directing power. To appoint a Department of Labour under such conditions is really to mock labour, and to show that labour conditions throughout the country are not regarded seriously. It would be showing an entire lack of a scientific grasp of the situation such as, if it were exhibited in medicine or in law, would result in anarchy in those walks of life at once. It has taken years and years to sweep away misconceptions and to make the slightest progress in the way of a sympathetic coordination of the various rival interests

*in the employment of labour. Now, we have the chance to empower a 'apable minister *to look into these matters, and from the serene height of his federal position to tell the country what are the facts, and I say that to fail to give him this power and to back him up by such an Act as this, would be a calamity of the direst possible kind.

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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:

I would remind hon. members that this is not a debate on the second reading of the Bill. We have had some excellent speeches on the principle of the Bill, but we are now in committee, and I ask hon. members to confine their remarks as closely as possible to the clause under discussion.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

It was pretty late in

the evening when the Resolution was introduced the other day, and the House had only a few minutes in -which to discuss 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:

The second reading

took place to-day.

(Mr. G. B. NtlOHOLSON: I shall endeavour to confine myself to the clause under discussion. Before I heard the hon. member for Maisonneuve speak I was under the impression that this Bill was fairly simple, that it was merely to provide, if possible the means whereby the employer and the man seeking work could get in touch with one another. But after, listening to the hon. member I think the House must have got the impression that this Bill had something to do with a variety of subjects other than what is set out in the Bill, because my hon. friend dealt with technical education, the tariff, the reconstruction period after the war, the relationship of the Manufacturers' Association to the industrial life of the country, and many other kindred subjects. However, the clause immediately before us is to aid and encourage the organization and co-ordination of employment offices, and to promote unity of method among them. The minister has told us what the province of Ontario has done in the direction of creating employment agencies at different centres. As the minister said, the number is confined to about five , or six, located in Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton, London, and one or two other large centres. I have no desire either to be captious or critical; I agree with every provision of the Bill; I think the Bill is vitally necessary at- the present time, but I must say that the machinery which the provinces have so far set up is utterly inadequate to meet the situation which this Bill is apparently designed to

take care of. I -would again impress upon the minister the necessity of approaching the provinces in an effort to secure their co-operation in setting up provincial clearing houses for employment purposes, and making use of the machinery afforded by the private employment agencies until the Federal Government established a system of its own. The minister has said it would be impossible for the Government to establish a comprehensive system of employment agencies, taking in every town and hamlet in this country, but some isueh system as that must be provided if th3 men looking for employment and the employers looking for labour are to be given the information they must have in order to get in touch with each other. Yon will find that from one end of this province to the other-and I think I know something of what I am talking about-the large employers of labour are constantly in touch with the employment offices, not only in the large centres, but in the smaller towns and hamlets throughout the whole country, and it iis only by that means they are able to get the necessary supply of labour, and that the men seeking employment can get in touch with the men desiring their help. I repeat, I do not wish to be critical of the provisions of the Bill, which I say is a step in the right direction; but if we want immediate results I would urge the minister to embody in his scheme the principle of making use of the things we have readymade to hand.

Air. DuTREMBLAY: The principle of

this Bill is a good one, but in my opinion the Bill does not go far enough. It only seeks to encourage the employment offices already in operation by the provinces. I would like to see this Government establish employment offices where now there are none, especially in places where there is a great demand for them. I know for a fact that these labour exchanges are rendering a great service to employers and employees, and they should be looked after by the minister with great care. An inspector should be appointed to look into their operation, for I know of many cases where there has been difficulty in getting work through these channels.

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UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Unionist

Air. CROTHERS:

Section 8 provides for an inspection.

Mr. DuTREMBLAY: Not more than a

month ago a delegation from my county came to my office, and spoke to me regarding works that were to be constructed by the Government in Halifax, or, at least,

to which this Government was contributing money. These people had to disburse to 'certain agents or bureaus to be permitted to go to Halifax to work. They had to get into communication with the Minister of Labour, and, for some reason or another, they got no satisfaction. They were called upon to disburse ten or fifteen dollars before they could be employed at all. Such dealings as these should disappear completely. In large centres like .Montreal, for instance, different private bureaus charge the men foT obtaining employment for them. After three or four days' work, these men are turned out. They have to come back again to the agency and pay perhaps two or three dollars-which means a lot to them-in order to secure employment. I simply draw these facts to the attention of the Minister of Labour. I endorse the statements of the hon. member for Miaisonneuve in regard to technical education. It is a great thing for the country. The officers who are going to be appointed under this Bill should consider the question. It is absolutely imperative that this matter should be looked into, in the interests of the labour men. After the war is over, it will be very difficult to obtain employment. I suggest that a commission should be appointed as soon as possible to look into these matters, to ascertain how the labour men in this country may be employed after the war.

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UNION

Robert Hamilton Butts

Unionist

Mr. BUTTS:

I have considerable sympathy with the remarks generally .of my hon. friend from Maisonneuve. I come from a county where nearly all the people are miners, or steel workers, and the labour question, as a general rule, is a very prominent one. I think when the Minister of Labour comes to consider the matter he will find that the Bill he has presented to the House does not go quite far enough. In order to have a labour organization that would be properly conducted, I think the Government should consult the different provincial governments, and* provide for a uniform system throughout the Dominion. Labour and capital are getting very wide apart. The .antagonism between them is becoming too pronounced to conduce to a healthy condition in this country. It is pretty nearly time we began to realize the present condition of affairs, and endeavour to bring capital and labour closer to one another. In this way only- can we bring about a healthy condition in Canada. Parliament should do something. I make a special appeal to the Minister of Labour, and urge him to get in touch with all the provinces of Canada and endeavour to frame

a uniform labour law. In the local legislature we have been dealing, year after yeaT, with the question of workmen's compensation, employers' liability, and kindred matters. These matters are important and ought to be taken seriously, without regard to politics. As sane men we should regard these matters as being pertinent to the wellbeing of the community and the Dominion at large. The Sydney Post records that a poor woman got a verdict from a jury for $35,000 for the death of her husband, who was as dear to her as if he were earning a million dollars a year'; but that verdict will, of course, be appealed to a higher court. If the judgment had (been for $10,000, possibly it would have been sustained. The other evening, when we discussed the subject of coal, some h-on. gentlemen said they were paying $10 a ton for it, when I obtain it for $3.90. I told you the other day about a man who had .a salary of $100,000 a year.

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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:

Order. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member, but I do feel that his remarks are very far from the clause under consideration, and I would ask him to address liis remarks to clause 3.

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UNION

Robert Hamilton Butts

Unionist

Mr. BUTTS:

I beg your pardon, Mr. Chairman, but we were talking about the matter of capital and labour.

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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:

This is not a discussion upon the question of capital and labour.

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UNION

Robert Hamilton Butts

Unionist

Mr. BUTTS:

At the same time it boils down to that.

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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:

I will have to rule that the discussion of the question of capital and labour is out of order. I regret to do so, but hon. members, this afternoon, have certainly gone far beyond the latitude allowed in discussions in committee. Some hon. members do not seem to have understood me when I asked them to speak to the clause under consideration. I hope I shall not be again obliged to call attention to this.

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UNION

Robert Hamilton Butts

Unionist

Mr. BUTTS:

I think that the discussion this afternoon has been largely a debate on the question of capital and labour. I will submit to your ruling, Mr. Chairman.

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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 debate so far would in some respects lead to that conclusion, hut it has been out of order.

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UNION

Robert Hamilton Butts

Unionist

Mr. BUTTS:

Will you give me a little latitude? You have given latitude to all hands this afternoon. I intended to speak of the debate that took place here a few nights ago. Perhaps I am altogether out of

order, but as you have acknowledged yourself, Sir, that the whole debate has been out of order this afternoon. We had a debate the other evening about the high cost of coal, about which the people in Ontario complain. Just think of it-a Yankee comes over from the land of Uncle Sam and exacts from one of oiir small steel and coal companies $100,000 in yearly salary. . What can you expect? You have to pay for it in your coal. Through this Bill you have an opportunity of doing something to alleviate the ill-feeling that exists between capita] and labour. Every person knows perfectly well that nothing is more desirable than to bring about such a condition of things as will make it possible for capital and labour to go hand in hand together. If we can secure the adoption of a Bill which will result in a good understanding between capital and labour we will be helping the Minister of Labour to do something for the country that no one ever did before.

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April 23, 1918