April 22, 1920

UNION

John Hampden Burnham

Unionist

Mr. BURNHAM:

May I ask the hon. gentleman how he assumes that that was the intention when he himself thought it must be by implication and had made no note of it whatever?

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LIB

George Gerald King

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I did not say I thought it was by implication. I said specifically to-night that if the Grand Trunk Railway Company had not intended to give the men the pensions they ought to have said so when the matter was the subject of negotiation. They said that the men were to be put back in their former positions; the whole discussion in the matter of settlement related to conditions after the strike being exactly what they were before the strike. That was the basis of settlement, and if the term's meant anything they meant tlhat the men who had been serving the company for a number of years and were entitled to pensions should not he prejudiced in their positions when the strike was over. The understanding was that bygones were to be bygones and that a settlement should'be made as though nothing whatever had happened. That was the nature of the agreement; that was the distinct understanding. The only men who were to be penalized were those who had been guilty of acts of violence; all others were to be reinstated, they were to be put back in their former positions.

When I was interrupted I was referring to the reason why this step had not been taken sooner. As long as the cases of the men were being investigated the company professed that they intended to carry out the agreement. No one thought at that time that -there was going to be any dispute over the matter of pensions one way or the other. The moment it became apparent that the company were not going to reinstate

the men; the moment it became apparent that certain men were not being reinstated notwithstanding Judge Barron's recommendation to that effect, that moment the Government refused to have any further dealings with Mr. Hays and his company. As I have said, the Government thereupon refused to bring down a Bill recommending financial assistance to 'the company to the extent of several million dollars in connection with some Western , lines. The Grand Trunk Railway Company was refused that aid, for the simple reason that they were not living up to the agreement arrived at in the presence of Sir Frederick Borden and myself. Then, when the Government which succeeded Sir Wilfrid Laurier's Government came into power, the ex-Minister of Labour, the member for West Elgin (Mr. Crothers) took up further with the Grand Trunk Company the question of the reinstatement of the men. He had the same difficulties with the company that we had. He intimated the other evening that he was more successful; that he got the men back into their positions. I am very glad to give my hon. friend every credit for getting them back; I congratulate him upon doing so. But I say this: if he got them back into their former positions, according to his own understanding of the agreement did that not-carry with it their right to restoration to pension benefits? Did he understand that the men were simply being reinstated in positions which they had forfeited, but that they were to be deprived of pensions? I ask my hon. friend that question now.

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UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers

Unionist

Mr. CROTHERS:

When the matter came before me, that question was not raised at [DOT]all by the men. If they had said anything about the question of pensions, I could have had that fixed for them at the same time as I got the other matter adjusted, because we took the position that we would not let any legislation favourable to the Grand Trunk pass until they would carry out that agreement. The men made no claim respecting pensions, and I am corroborated in that by a speech delivered by my hon. friend (Mr. Mackenzie King) himself, and read from Hansard by the Minister of Justice (Mr. Doherty) last Friday, in which speech the hon. member stated that the men did not regard the question of pensions as being of any importance.

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LIB

George Gerald King

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Not the men,

but the leaders.

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UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers

Unionist

Mr. CROTHERS:

The leaders represented the men. -

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LIB

George Gerald King

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

What my hon. friend has said bears out my position. The hon. member says that he could have had the matter of pensions adjusted if it had been raised at all. That is the position we are in at the moment, the only difference being this, that the question has come to the fore now while is was not to the fore then, for the reason my hon. friend mentioned. The question of pensions was not likely to rise in any extensive way until the company began to deprive their employees of their pensions. When the men found that they were being deprived of their pensions, the question of pensions came very much to the fore. Let me make very clear the fact that while the strike leaders have said, in public and in private, that the question of pensions was a secondary matter as regards this particular strike, they have never said to me, and I am sure they have never said to my hon. friend, nor in public, that according to the terms of the settlement of the strike, the matter of pensions does not enter into the question one way or another. They said that the question of pensions was not discussed in the negotiations; but I am sure not one of them would intimate that when the agreement was reached, they bad assumed anything cither than that all the men would be reinstated in their formed positions and that they would also he entitled to their pensions.

Let me point this out in further reference to the question why this point was not raised last session. One minister mentioned that I was in the' House last year and should have brought forward the question at that .time. As hon, members will recall, I was a member of 'this House only two or three weeks last session. At that time the Grand Trunk Railway legislation bad already been very far advanced; it wais near completion. The minute I Came into the House, I urged that the undue haste with which that .legislation wa's being put through was unwarranted, and I asked the Government to go more slowly in order thait all matters that were pertinent 'should be carefully considered. But we were told that there could he no delay; that the Bill must go through ithialt session. Then, I asked that the agreement should be submitted to Parliament so that we might have an opportunity to examine it, and that Parliament should be called upon to ratify it. But that right was denied. Had the agreement been submitted to Parliament, we could have dealt with this question under the heading in the agreement relating to pensions and superannuation. There is

in the agreement, clause 17, "Superannuation and Pension Fund," and that shows that the Government had the subject under consideration at the time the agreement was being drawn up. What representations did the Government have before them from the men at that time? The other evening I read a resolution that the Canadian delegates of the Railway Conductors of America and Canada adopted and signed in May 1919. I will read only two or three clauses of that resolution, but they are pertinent to this matter:

Whereas, the Government then in power effected a settlement, and it was agreed among other things that the employees would return to work and resume their standing in the service and their seniority rights held by them prior to the strike, as though they had been continuously in the service, and,

Whereas, the company has since the said agreement deprived the said employees who have retired from the service on account of the age limit from the benefits of the Pension Fund, alleging that their participation in the strike in 1910 broke their continuity of service with the company, and,

Whereas, many conductors and other train men that had served the company and the public faithfully and continuously up to fifty-three (53) years, and having reached the age limit, have been retired from the service, and for the reason above stated debarred from the pension which they so sorely need on account of the low wages in effect on this road

prior to the strike of 1910

Whereas, we are advised that our Government is desirous of acquiring the Grand Trunk railway and Incorporating it as part of our National Railway system, and is negotiating to that end. therefore, he it further,

Resolved, that we respectfully petition our Government not to conclude said negotiations for the purchase of the said Grand Trunk railway without providing for the protection of the pension interests of the employees concerned, and be it further,

Resolved, that we furnish a copy of these resolutions to the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Borden, and to the following ministers of departments, and members of Parliament, namely :-The Honourable Minister of Railways, X B. Reid; the Hon. Minister of Labour, G. X>. Robertson, and J. E. Armstrong, Esq., M.P., chairman of the Railway Committee of the House of Commons.

This is signed by the representatives of (the different organizations. Before this Grand Trunk agreement. tw&s drafted, (the employees affabted made a request to the Government drawing the Government's attention specifically to the fact thait they had not received their pensions. iMy Hon. friend (Mr. Crothers), who succeeded me in ithe office of Minister of Labour, said that had the matter been drawn to his attention he could have had the question of pensions adjusted at that time.

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Public Works; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

According to the discussion the other evening, the question of [Mr Mackenzie King.]

pensions -was brought to the attention of the leader of the Opposition -when the negotiations were going on.

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LIB

George Gerald King

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

The question of pensions was never brought up in the negotiations between the parties, and I cannot make that statement any more positive than I hate made it. I said that, speaking to me privately, the strike leaders had talked about pensions, pointing out, as all leaders of labour organizations do, that pensions are a mistake from the point of view of organized labour, because the companies that use them take advantage of the pensions to compel a form of continuous service, and if that is to be the use of the pension of course they think it would be better to have the question of pensions ouf of the way altogether.

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

Did not the hon. gentleman, in the letter which he read to us the other evening, as having been written [DOT]by him to Sir Wilfrid at the time, point out that Mr. Hays was taking refuge behind a provision of the charter or by-laws of the Provident Association-which provision required continuous employment in order to entitle a man to a pension-and because of that refusing the pension to the men who had struck, on the ground that their employment was not continuous? And did not the hon. gentleman, in that same letter and at that same time, point out to Sir Wilfrid Laurier, his chief, that the proper remedy was legislation to amend the charter of the Provident Association and to confer on that association power to grant the pensions notwithstanding the non-continuous employment, the interruption by the strike?

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LIB

George Gerald King

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I am glad my right hon. friend has asked that question, because I think the letter which I wrote to Sir Wilfrid Laurier will, perhaps, show, in words clearer than any that I can now use, what the position was. There is on Hansard a copy of the letter which I wrote to Sir Wilfrid Laurier. After that letter had been completed-and it was written after the strike was over altogether-a postscript was added, the postscript being written a day or two afterwards. The hon. member for Dufferin (Mr. Best) asked the other night if there was a postscript, and I think I said that he was somewhat tin a fhurry to get through. Let me read what the postscript says:

I see by the press that Mr. Hays is proposing to consider as cancelled all obligation

which his company may be under in the way of pensions, partially or all but fully earned by any of the men who may have gone out on strike.

If the question of pensions had been mentioned during the negotiations which I have outlined in the letter to Sir Wilfrid Laur-ier, would I in a postscript have directed Sir Wilfrid's attention to the fact that I saw by the press that Mr. Hays was pro-^ posing to consider as cancelled the obligations which his company was under in respect of pensions to the men who had gone out on strike? The reason for my postscript was that the first I saw of the intention of the company not to live up to its obligations was in the press, and the minute I saw it, I took the position that I take now, namely, that Parliament should see to it that such an attitude on the part of the Grand Trunk towards its employees was made impossible. Let me read the rest of the postscript:

A pension has always been considered a reward of service-not a manacle to fetter personal liberty. Some of the men who have been out on this strike have, I understand, given thirty-four years of their life to the company's service. They, according to Mr. Hays, are to lose every cent of their pensions and start in as new men.

Mark those words, "according to Mr. Hays." Not according to the terms of any agreement or understanding made the time, but according to what Mr. Hays said after the strike was over.

Unless Mr. Hays, or those who control his company, are prepared to recede from this position, my own individual view is that the Parliament of Canada would be justified in refusing to grant any company with which Mr. Hays is concerned any further consideration of any kind, and that the Government should lead Parliament in this view.

It was exactly that which Sir Wilfrid Laurier's Government did. It refused to give Mr. Hays several millions of dollars because he had not reinstated the men.

If, as Mr. Hays will probably say, he cannot legally grant the pension, Parliament might help to rid him of this limitation by enacting legislation which will give him the legal power he requires. It is to be hoped for the sake of the interests of the company, to say nothing of the rights of others, that his directors will not allow him to persist in a stand of this kind.

That is the position I took then; that is the position I have taken all along; that is the position I take now. The only difference is this: that whereas, as my hon.

friend from West Elgin (Mr. Crothers) has said, we did not know at that time, and he did not know at the time he was in office, that the question of pensions was

going to be raised in this important way, we all know to-day that these men, every one of them, have been deprived of their pensions for a period of ten years, and we know further that this is the last opportunity which Parliament will have to state definitely that the men are entitled to their pensions, and to remove all doubts as to their rights in that matter. That is why I bring this matter up on the third reading of this Bill, which relates to the Grand Trunk Railway company and its acquisition by the Government. Before the railway passes into the hands of the Government I want its just debts to be paid. I do not wish to see tlhese men defrauded of their pensions or the country saddled with a liability which belongs to the Grand Trunk. I want the Grand Trunk to carry out its obligations, and in my opinion it is up to every member of Parliament to see to it that the Grand Trunk Railway Company is compelled !to do so, if any voice of this Parliament can help to bring that about.

Let me read the terms of the Grapd Trunk Railway ComDany Act which gives the Grand Trunk the right to establish this pension fund. "An Act respecting the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada," assented to 12th April, 1907; Chapter 89, 6-7 Edward VII, (has certain sections regarding the pension fund. Secion 5 is a,s follow: [DOT] _

The company may, for the purpose of making provision for the payment of allowances to employees after leaving the service, establish a fund to be known as " Grand Trunk Pension Fund." and may from time to time contribute thereto out of the gross earnings of the company such amounts as the directors determine.

Section 6 provides:

Any sum contributed to the said fund by the company shall be considered as, and form part of, the working expenses of the company as defined by the agreement set out in the schedule to the Grand Trunk Act, 1893.

There is the law on the question of this pension fund. It gave to the Grand Trunk Railway Company power to set aside certain funds for a specific purpose, namely, that pensions might be given to the men when they retired from the service. That money was to be regarded as part of the working expenses of the railway. What does the Grand Trunk Railway Company propose? It proposes to take that money, which ought to be charged up to the working expenses of the road and ought to be given to the employees who are entitled to it, and, instead of carrying out its obligations in that regard, to distribute that money among

its shareholders. I say that is a step we should not permit. I say that the Grand Trunk Railway Company should be compelled to regard as part of its working expenses all the money which was set aside in that pension fund up to that date, and to see it applied as it was intended to be applied, to pensions for the men when they retired from the service. I have here a copy of the Rules and Regulations as to the Pension Fund of the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada, Pensions Department, and I notice in these Rules and Regulations this clause:

It is intended that in future all officers and employees shall be compulsorily retired on reaching the age of 65 years.

In other words, the Grand Trunk Railway Company adopted that pension fund so that they could retire their employees at the age of 65. They were to retire them after they had served a number of years, but were to give them the benefit of a pension. That was the only justifiable purpose of the pension fund, but that purpose is altogether defeated unless we make it perfectly plain that so far as the pension fund iis canoemed the terms of the settlement must be lived up to. All advantages that should accrue to the men through long and continued faithful service, they aire being deprived of an a mere pretext.

What ils said in the Rules and Regulations Concerning service?

" Service " means up to and immediately preceding date of retirement.

I say that the only interpretation that can properly be placed upon the rules and regulations of that pension fund is that men who were in the service of the company become entitled to pensions at the time of Itlheiir restiiremeinit unless there iis some specific statement or specific term in some agreement !to 'the effect that they are to lose their pensions. There was no such clause in the 'agreement that was reached. In a letter I placed on record ;tbe other evening I made that clear from a communication sent by Mr. Hays to me during the course of negotiations. This letter contains a somewhat significant statement, and I shall read it to the committee in order that hon. members may see that even Mr. Hays himself at that time did not contemplate pensions as in question. The letter was addressed to Sir Frederick Borden and myself, and iis dated August 1, 1910:

Gentlemen : I have your favour of date July 31st in re dispute between the Grand Trunk Railway Company and employees in train and yard service, with memo of terms of proposed [Mr Mackenzie King.]

settlement of existing difficulties. I think we are all actuated by the same motives, viz, the restoration of full service on the Grand Trunk railway with every possible consideration to the men who went out on strike.

Then follows something which is irrelevant to this discussion The letter is signed, "Yours truly, Chas. M. Hays, President." Note those words:

I think we are all animated by the same motives, namely, the restoration of full service on the Grand Trunk railway, with every consideration possible to the men who went out on strike.

Can any one in this House for a moment say that depriving the men of their pensions is "restoration 0i full servicer" Gan any one say that depriving the men ot their pension's iis showing "every possible consideration to the men who went out on strike?" The whole action of the Grand Trunk Railway president in this matter is as dishonourable as any act can possibly be, and being dishonourable, it is placing this Parliament and the Government of this country in a false position before all the working classes of this country, for the simple reason thait the Government of the country undertook to vouch for the terms of that agreement. If it comes to a question between an endeavour on the part of the Government to carry out justice, and an endeavour on the part of a private corporation to defeat justice, there can im such case be only one decision to reach in -the interest oif isocd-al justice and public honour, and that is to see thait right and the supremacy of the Government in the matter of carrying out justice are mamtadnied at all costs. That ils the real question at issue at the present moment.

J ust a word as to the consequences of any failure on the part of Parliament to take the step which I am proposing Parliament should take to-night. In the first place, if Paxliiam-emt should refrain from stating in specific language that nothing so far as that strike of 1910 is concerned shall effect, the pension rights of these workingmen, a large number of workingmen throughout the whole of this Dominion and their families as well, may be deprived of pension benefits. Is that a course which this Parliament wishes to take? Do hon. gentlemen opposite desire to be a party to any omission which may have the effect of depriving thousands of working men and their families of pensions to which they are justly entitled? I say" that unless Parliament goes on record in this matter we have no guarantee that the men will get those pensions. The question of the Grand Trunk's liabilities and assets is about to be referred to arbitration.

This is a matter upon which Parliament should express itself independently of arbitration altogether, and it should not be for the arbitrators to decide whether there is a just case here or not, when the honour of ministers of the Crown and of Parliament is at stake. It is for Parliament to protect the rights of the workers in this matter, and we should leave no door open by which those rights can by any possible chance be ignored.

Now let us assume that this matter goes before the Board of Arbitration through any failure on the part of this Parliament to express its opinion, and that the board has nothing to guide it other than such rep e-sentations as may be made to it. And let tte suppose thait The hoard finds there is some legal technicality that prevents it from regarding as a liability this whole matter of pensions. Then what happens? Why, of course, this money which was put into a pension fund for the good of the employees becomes at once an asset of the company, to be counted as part of the property of the shareholders. That, I think, was never intended in the law which was framed for the purpose of establishing the pension fund. There is no justice in such a situation. Then there is the other alternative that possibly the board may find that there is no legal obligation, but that there is one from a moral standpoint. What happens in that event? One of two things may occur: Either the whole matter may drop there, or else the Government, coming into possession of tlhe railways, may be called upon to assume this moral obligation; and then we shall have the question as to who should pay the pensions put up to the Government as the sole owner of the road. Should the Government, as the owner of the road, undertake to make good the pensions, it could only do so at the expense of the taxpayers, and I say emphatically that such a step would under existing circumstances be unfair to the people of the country. These pensions are a liability that belongs to the Grand Trunk Railway Company, and that liability should be met by the company.

My right hon. friend (Mr. Doherty) the other evening was somewhat annoyed, I think-at any rate, his manner seemed to me to imply that he was-because I intimated to the House that I had gathered from his words that what I have said was the course the Government would, pursue. I said I had gathered that my right hon. friend had said, when the subject was up for discussion in connection with the resolution urging that the Government should do all in its power to have the board of arbitration consider the merits of the case, that he would have them consider the matter from the legal and the moral standpoints, and that if the legal point of view were found to be such that the men could not get the pensions, then of course the Government, being sole owners of the railroad, would have to consider the moral obligation. And I gathered from his words that by that he meant and intended to convey this meaning to the mover of the resolution, that there was no necessity to press the resolution because sooner or later the men would get their pensions anyway. My right hon. friend took exception to that statement, and said that I had misinterpreted him or was wilfully trying to do so. Let me read his words and ask the House to judge whether or not I was right in the inference I drew.

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

Does the hon. gentleman say that I referred to the observation which he has just made as a ground of annoyance? If he will be good enough to look at what I did say he will see that I did resent most strongly the statement he made, that when members of this Government made statements, either to the men or in this House, in reference to the subject, they knew that those statetments did not and could not amount to anything. That allegation I did resent, but I do not think the hon. gentleman will find in my speech that I resented in any way the interpretation which he says he put upon my statements.

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LIB

George Gerald King

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

If my hon.

friend construes my words as intending to imply that the Government itself was wilfully deceiving the men, I at once retract any statement that may be open to such a construction. I should be most unhappy to have the minister think that I imputed any motives to the Government. I am not imputing any motives one way or the other. All I ask is that my hon. friend be indulgent enough to listen to his own words and gather from them what the workingmen, who are interested in the question of pensions, would be inclined to consider them to mean. I shall read the hon. gentleman's words, and ask him to say whether they would not mean, to those who are interested in the matter, just what I have suggested, namely, that unless the pensions were granted by the board of arbitration, in all probability the Government itself would assume the responsibility for

them. The minister's remarks will be found in Hansard of April 12, at page 1179 of the unrevised edition. He said:

I am quite prepared to say on behalf of the Government that before that board of arbitrators we shall see to it that the claim that this is an existing liability ds put forward with every facility for establishing it, assuming it to be susceptible of establishment, and that every opportunity will be given to establish it and to press it on the consideration of the board.

I would be willing to go further and to say that I think it will be quite justifiable that it should be pressed not only in so far as it can be sustained as being an absolutely legal claim, but that it should be pressed upon the consideration of the arbitrators from the point of view even of a moral or equitable claim, and that they should be asked'-of course we cannot give that instruction-that it be given every possible weight in order to assure justice being done to these men. What would be the situation if that procedure proved ineffective to obtain the recognition of the claim, it is perhaps unnecessary that we should go into it now? What the position will be when the stock has passed absolutely to this Government, and this Government is in the position of being the sole stockholder, and what will perhaps be the position in view of the provisions of section 17 of the agreement, X think we need not stop now to consider. For the present, the proceeding now to take place affords an opportunity of having this matter gone into and having the justice of the claim that is put forward established. That is the one effective method that is open to us and on behalf of the Government I am quite prepared to undertake that it shall be adopted.

The foregoing were his words in one .place. Here are his words, even more emphatic, in another, and I ask hon. gentlemen :to dnaiw .their own inference as to their meaning. At page 1180 of the same issue of Hansard:

Now in reference to what X said with regard [DOT]to urging this matter as a moral claim, I am not prepared to lay this down as an absolutely legal position; but I myself would feel justified in urging upon the Board of Arbitration that they should consider If. in their opinion, this was a claim so strong in equity that the Government, coming into control of the railway, could not do otherwise than do what it would be a perfectly fair thing to 4C-estimate and determine the value of the claim. I am not laying that down as an absolute legal position to be followed, but I would feel like urging that upon the board. In. that situation, if the Board of Arbitration find that they cannot take into consideration anything but an absolutely legal claim I do not want to undertake to say now what will be done. What I am at present pointing out is, that the Government is in the position of being the sole shareholder of the company with regard, to which company it has been found that there did not exist this strong moral claim. I fancy that the Government in that situation would find itself in the position where it would not necessarily have to consider a claim of that kind.

Any one reading that language can see haw involved At ds. I (confess that rereading

it alt the moment I gather only one impression from dlt-that iif the board of arbitration do not find that the men are legally entitled to pension and do find that there is a moral obligation somewhere, then in all probability the Government that has to do with the question will find that that moral obligation should be met by paying the men the pensions. Now to come down to the concrete thing, assume that this means anything at all, what happens? This matter is referred to the board. The board finds there is neither a legal obligation nor a moral obligation. Then the men lose their pensions altogether, and the Grand Trunk is exempted from that liability. Or, assume that the board finds that there is a moral obligation but not a legal one, and that the Government, becoming the sole owner of the road, assumes that moral obligations. In th-ait case you have this situation: The men will be paid their pensions but paid out of the public treasury and at the expense of the taxpayers of this country, not at the expense of the Grand Trunk Railway Company. I say that either of these positions is unjust. One is unjust to the workingmen, the other is unjust to the taxpayers. There is only one just position, that is that the company which promised to take back these men without prejudice after the strike should make good that undertaking; and that Parliament, here and now, should take the action that will remove this particular obligation altogether from the arena of doubt. It is unfair and unnecessary that the board of arbitrators should be called upon to consider it. The facts are known, there is no doubt about them, there is no question in disputp one way or the other; it is a matter of simple and honest justice.

Now let me say just this one word in conclusion. My right hon. friend may argue, perhaps, that in suggesting a step of this kind I am taking a somewhat radical position, that I am trying to interfere in some way or other with the sanctity of comitraclt. It is the sanctity of contract that I am seeking to preserve. I saw that contract drafted, I was present alt all the negotiations, I know what was said between the parties; and the whole intention and meaning of thfit contract rwas that the men were to be pu't back into their former positions which meant they remained entitled to their pensions.

I wish to say this further: This question, after a period of ten years, has now come into a very different position in the public

mind from that which it occupied at the time of that particular strike. Then it was a matter between the Grand Trunk Railway Company and its employees, as to which was going to prove more powerful. Now, the question is whether, as between the Grand Trunk Railway Company and the Government of Canada, the company is to have the last word in helping to defeat justice or the Government is to have the last word in helping to maintain it. If there is one thing above another which is rasiponsible for movements in the present day such as those described as direct action or Bolshevist it is attributable to the lack of faith which some people are coming to have in parliamentary institutions as standing for the rights of tlhe people as a whole. Nothing will held to lend color to such an impression more than for the government or for ia parliament-with all the facte and all the knowledge before them in regard ter a concrete ease such as Ithis-to stand back with complete indifference. I say this amendment is necessary on grounds of public honour and social justice. There is only one course for this Parliament to take. We have had this question before us for ten years. This is the last moment at which iwe can settle it in a way that is honourable to the men, honourable to the company, and honourable to the country and its representatives in Parliament, and we istauld take the necessary (step. I hope that hotn. gentlemen opposite will support us in this attitude. I beg to move the following resioluftibn:

That this Bill he not now read a third time hut that it he recommitted to the Committee of the Whole House with instructions to amend the same by adding the following section:

" Any right or interest of any employee ot the Grand Trunk Railway Company existing in the pensions fund prior to the strike of the company's employees which occurred in July, 1910, is hereby declared not to have been affected by such strike or any circumstance or condition arising out of or in connection therewith."

Let me point this out. This amendment does not involve the re-opening of the agreement. We have been told by the Minister of Railways (Mr. Reid) that the agreement is signed, sealed, and delivered, and that nothing that this Parliament says, one way or the other, will cause the Government to re-open it. That being the case it js impossible to insert in the .agreement itself any provision which will convey what is the unanimous view of this Parliament as to the rights of the parties concerned. For that reason I have framed the amendment so that it may be added, 31.1st as was 99

the amendment of the Minister of Justice a few moments ago, as an extra clause to this particular Bill. It expresses the view which, I think, was unanimously expressed by Parliament when a resolution on this subject was discussed a day or two since; it is necessary to maintain justice in this particular situation and to give effect to what is essential to public honour and a sense of public obligation.

Rt, Hon. C. J. DOHERTY (Ministe- of Justice): I had hoped that I had sueceeded the other evening in bringing home to the mind of the hon. gentleman-

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L LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Laurier Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

Hope springs eternal.

Mr. DOlHIBRTY: Certainly hope in the mind of the hon. gentleman seems to spring just as eternal as is that "justice" with regard to which he entertained us the other evening. I was saying I had hoped that I had brought home to the mind of the hon. gentleman the futility of the line which he is taking in what I am desirous of believing to be, and do not question is, an earnest zeal to remedy what he represents to be-and as to which upon its face he makes a strong case-an injustice from which the interested parties are suffering, an injustice we cannot escape from. As the hon. gentleman persists in taking this method he forces upon us the obligation of pointing out what the source of that injustice is.

If these men are suffering from an injustice it is because when he and his then colleagues too-k upon themselves to act as protectors of the men in the agreement which was come to to settle the strike out of which this difficulty arose, they failed to see that that agreement was put in such plain, unmistakable language as would secure to the men all their rights. The hon. gentleman to-night hides himself behind the -men. He says: It was the men who selected the words; we only stood by and approved them. What was his function? What was the purpose of the long letter- with the postscript, with which he favoured us the other evening,-if it iwas not to show that it was his unremitting vigilance that had succeeded in getting this advantageous settlement for the men? We were taken through the details of whom he breakfasted with, how late in ithe evening he called upon gentlemen who had to get out of bed and appear in their dressing gowns, so great was his zeal. And, mark this: He was the man through whom the interpretation of "as -soon as possible" had to come. He has

told us that at that time the leaders of the men talked to him about pensions and, according to his testimony, told him that they did not caie-I have not at hand the text but it will be found in Hansard of last Friday-whether the company treated that particular strike as being an interruption of their employment which would deprive the men of their pensions. The pension subject had, at all events, been up between him and those leaders. How does he explain that he, as the guardian angel of those men, through whom was passed the very terms of the agreement for interpretation, satisfied himself with such words, words so ambiguous that he to-night concedes that there is the gravest possible doubt whether those men have any legal right to pensions? What were the words that he accepted?

But here let me make a parenthesis. 1 am very sorry indeed that the hon. gentleman by his voluntary advocacy of the case of these men should have done so much to bring out the things that tend to weaken that case. When this matter was up upon the resolution of the hon. member for Sim-coe (Mr. Currie), he (Mr. Mackenzie King) and other hon. gentlemen who spoke on that occasion made what looked to me like an extraordinarily strong case; and I want te refrain now from going too much into what the hon. gentleman, as the sell constituted champion, said both the other evening and this evening, because I do not want to find myself in the position of bringing out the weak points of the men's case.

Why was he satisfied to pass on to those men, with as I understand-and I do not want to misrepresent him-the endorsement of the then Government of the day, the agreement as being a satisfactory settlement, and, as he claims, a settlement entitling them to these pensions? I am not going to enlarge upon it, because I do not want by any word of mine to make any clearer the weaknesses in the case that the hon. gentleman's speech has brought out. But, after all, what do the words "put back" mean? The hon. gentleman, except when he had to give us the exact words of the agreement, while arguing about it did not use the words "put back," but he used the word "reinstate." Why did he not have that word put in the agreement? If a man says; "I will put back my servant," that means nothing one way or the other as to whether the servant is put back in the sense of being taken again into employment to make a fresh start, or whether

he is to be put back to just where he was when he went out. In fact, the words imply that there has been an interval; he is now being put back.

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LIB

George Gerald King

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

If I may interrupt my right hon. friend, those words "put back" are followed by the other words "in their former positions."

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

Certainly.

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LIB

George Gerald King

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Why does not my right hon. friend say so?

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

If a man was a conductor, a brakeman or an engineer, he was put back in his former position-he became a conductor, a brakeman, or an engineer. That is the interpretation of which the agreement accepted by the hon. gentleman is susceptible.

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LIB

George Gerald King

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

That is not my interpretation of it.

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

No, it is not. But let hon. members mark why my hon. friend says that that is not his interpretation of the agreement. He does practically concede that those men have no legal claim. The doubt about the claim is the doubt about the interpretation of the agreement that he accepted and approved. Now, I do not want to' add one word to make that claim any more doubtful than it is, but when Parliament is called upon to take the most unprecedented^and, as I thought I had made clear the other evening, even to the hon. gentleman, most unjustified-action of declaring the existence of an indebtedness and condemning a party to pay it upon what is admittedly a disputed claim, without ever hearing the party against whom the claim is made, I think it imposes upon one the obligation of pointing out just what is the source of this difficulty; and also of pointing out just what a complete confusion of the functions of Parliament and of the courts, and what an absolute absence of apprehension of what is the most elementary condition that justice requires is involved when anybody, no matter haw authoritatively constituted, undertakes to determine a question of right between man and man, or between man and company under such circumstances. When one is face to face with that situation it becomes one's duty to call attention to those features which accentuate the impossibility of this proposal being accepted, -unless indeed we are going to do what my hon. friend has expressed such great apprehension of, that is, add to the causes that are at work to destroy the confidence

of the people of this country in Parliamentary institutions.

Wie are .asked to-night,, as we were asked on Friday afternoon, to decide this disputed question simply because the bon. gentleman says that, he personally knows, the facts and -because certain of the facts may be-I do not know-personally known to. certain members of the House. As I have said already, I.have been very much impressed with the case that has been made. I approach the case in the most sympathetic disposition. But I cannot say that I know the facts. There may be something to be adduced in contradiction of what the bon. gentleman says,-and I do not say that as suggesting that he has not told the story in hie speech and in that letter just as. he is absolutely convinced that the. events took place. But what this thing hangs on is largely verbal, as was elicited by the question of the member for North Perth (Mr. Morphy), and there is room for misunderstanding. Mind you, we are asked to-night to constitute ourselves a court of justice and to determine the right or wrong of a money claim, and that, in effect, without having heard either of the parties, certainly not having heard the party against whom the claim is made.

Mr- CANNON: Is not the Government

asking the House to do exactly the same thing, that is, ratify the agreement between the Government and the Grand Trunk Railway Company, although we have not heard any of the parties?

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

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April 22, 1920