April 22, 1920

UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I am not talking about what the claim of the company is; I want

to get at what the hon, member understood by his agreement, the agreement *which he negotiated between these parties in 1910?

, Mr. MACKENZIE KING: I did not negotiate the agreement; I was a witness to it.

, Mr. MEIGHEN: Just a witness? My hon. friend's relation to the whole situation is diminishing every bour. Now, he was only a witness; he did not even negotiate the agreement; he was no party to it; it does not matter what he thought of it; it is what the men intended by the agreement that counts. But he says that so far as he is concerned he believed the agreement meant that the men should be restored to their pension right as well as to every other right. That is his position to-night. Will this House believe me when I say that the hon. gentleman told the House an .exactly opposite thing when the matter was discussed in 1911? He told this House in 1911 that he did not understand the agreement to include a restoration to pension right. ,On that occasion-I quote from Hansard of February 10, 1911-he was answering an inquiry of the hon. member for South .Sinrcoe of that day, Mr. Lennox. I shall have to read this at some length, because it shows what was in the mind of the hon. member when he spoke on that occasion:

What I want to call the attention of the minister to is that it is a. very important point whether the men were reinstated in the broadest sense of the term or were being put back as new men.

, Just exactly the point we have in mind to-day.

X can hardly conceive that it was contemplated that they were to be put back as new men. Are we to understand from the minister that that distinction was not adverted to at all and that he did not take that into consideration? I certainly would think that it would he the object of the minister to see that the agreement was in such a form as that the men, when they were taken back, would get the same positions that they would have occupied if no strike had taken place. Otherwise, it would be an idle sham, and it would deceive the men. If it meant that a man who had been in the service of the company for twenty years or more, and who would be entitled to a pension, was to be taken back as a new man. and not to be entitled to this pension, it would certainly be a most unfortunate result.

Mr. Lennox wants to know whether he, the then Minister of Labour (Mr. Mackenzie King) understands that the restitution provided by the agreement was a restitution to pension rights and all other rights. Does the then Minister of Labour, tire present leader of the Opposition, say: Yes, that is

the agreement that was negotiated; I was a witness to it; I was there between the men? Does he say : Certainly, pensions were intended to be included; that was part of the settlement? That is what he says to-night; that was his understanding of it. Did he say that then? I quote from his reply to Mr Lennox:

As regards, pensions, when the matter was under consideration, the leaders of the men who were negotiating on behalf of the employees took the position that they did not care about pensions one way or the other,-

Would he have given that answer if he had thought that pensions were a right to which the men had been restored by the agreement?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   BILL TO CONFIRM AGREEMENT WITH THE COMPANY.
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LIB

George Gerald King

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Read on.

Mr. MEtIGHEN: I will read on, until the hon. member will ask me to quit, I think, because it gets a lot plainer on the next page:

-the employees took the position that they did not care about pensions one way or the other, that if the company cared to regard them as having violated its agreement with them to the extent of breaking any regulation which governed pensions, the company was perfectly free to put that interpretation upon it. I was rather surprised myself at them taking that stand, but they did take it and they gave me to understand that in so far as pensions were concerned, if they had forfeited the pension by going out, and if the company cared to put that interpretation upon it, they were free to do so.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   BILL TO CONFIRM AGREEMENT WITH THE COMPANY.
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LIB
UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I will read everything the hon. member said until the debate closed, because everything is consistent with this and nothing else.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   BILL TO CONFIRM AGREEMENT WITH THE COMPANY.
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LIB

George Gerald King

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Read the next statement.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   BILL TO CONFIRM AGREEMENT WITH THE COMPANY.
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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The next statement is

this,-but I had better read Mr. Lennox's in between:

Mr. Lennox: Am I to understand the minister to say that his mind is clear that those who represented the men were at least indifferent as to the question of what position the men would occupy as regards pensions? That is what I understand the minister to say: that those who represented the employees of the railroad companies on that occasion expressed themselves indifferent as to whether the company should consider the pensions forfeited or not. I may say to the minister-of course, with every deference to what he says-that unless he is absolutely clear that that was the understanding, I would be surprised to hear that such was the case.

The information I have got so far, and I am endeavouring to get more exDlicit information, is that the men throughout- the country generally, and I understand, also, those who represented them-thoroughly understood at that

[Mr. Meighen-1

time that except as to those who had been guilty of acts of violence such as expressed in the agreement, it put an end to all existing disputes and difficulties, arid that the men would be restored to all the rights and privileges that they had before the strike had been declared.

Mr. Lennox says: That is what I understood. The leader of the Opposition says to-night: That is what I understand. Did he say that m answer to Mr. Lennox?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   BILL TO CONFIRM AGREEMENT WITH THE COMPANY.
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LIB

George Gerald King

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Just, read the next sentence.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   BILL TO CONFIRM AGREEMENT WITH THE COMPANY.
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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Certainly I will read it; I promised to do so:

Mr. King: I am perfectly clear in my own mind as to what took place at the time, and I remember that the subject of pensions was never mentioned in any of the joint discussions between the men and the company.

Why did he not say: Yes, certainly, it

means pensions, it was intended to include everything? That is what he says now when he is in opposition. Why did he not say that when he was in power? Why did he not say that a few months after the settlement, instead of waiting until now when nearly all the participants are dead?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   BILL TO CONFIRM AGREEMENT WITH THE COMPANY.
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LIB

George Gerald King

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Finish the

sentence.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   BILL TO CONFIRM AGREEMENT WITH THE COMPANY.
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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Certainly. (Reading):

I remember, also, quite distinctly, that, apart from the joint discussion that took place, and at which the Minister of Militia and myself were present, the leaders of the men spoke nothing about the question of pensions. I brought that up myself.

He brought it up, and in his mind he made it clear that the men were entitled to pensions. Why did he not say so to Mr. Lennox? He told Mr. Lennox that the men were indifferent to pensions, and he led the whole House to believe that pensions were never intendd to be part of the matter at all.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   BILL TO CONFIRM AGREEMENT WITH THE COMPANY.
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LIB

George Gerald King

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I am sure my hon. friend does not wash entirely to misrepresent me. [DOT]

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   BILL TO CONFIRM AGREEMENT WITH THE COMPANY.
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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I am only reading what my hon. friend said.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   BILL TO CONFIRM AGREEMENT WITH THE COMPANY.
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LIB

George Gerald King

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I have said all along-

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   BILL TO CONFIRM AGREEMENT WITH THE COMPANY.
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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. The hon. member has already spoken on one or two occasions in this debate, and if he wishes to make a statement he is certainly not in order.

Mr.' MACKENZIE KING: Very well, I am glad to have the record speak for itself.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   BILL TO CONFIRM AGREEMENT WITH THE COMPANY.
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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHOBN:

Instead of acquiescing in the understanding Mr. Lennox put forward that the men would never have agreed to anything that did not involve or imply a settlement of the question of pensions, my hon. friend takes a different tack altogether and says: No, I did not argue that pensions were included; pensions were never mentioned; I brought the question of pensions up myself, and the leaders told me that they did not care about pensions at all. Is that answer consistent with his position to-night? But if that is not clear enough, will the House listen while I read the next sentence, and we shall see whether that is consistent with his position to-night:

Mr. Lennox: To whom does the hon. gentleman refer as leaders?

Mr. King: Mr. Garretson, Mr. Lee, Mr. Berry, and Mr. Murdock. I think all of these gentlemen took the same position on the matter. The question of pensions was a separate matter altogether, and it was not one that entered into the settlement one way or the other.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   BILL TO CONFIRM AGREEMENT WITH THE COMPANY.
Permalink
LIB

George Gerald King

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

That is absolutely true.

Mr. MiEIGH1EN: Absolutely true on the 10th February, 1911, that the question of pensions was a separate matter wholly from this agreement and that pensions did not enter into the question one way or the other, and still absolutely true to-night that in his opinion the agreement involved the settlement of the question of pensions. That both conclusions, - diametrically opposed, are entirely true, is the position of the leader of the Opposition.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   BILL TO CONFIRM AGREEMENT WITH THE COMPANY.
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LIB

George Gerald King

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

No, it is not. My hon. friend is not correct.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   BILL TO CONFIRM AGREEMENT WITH THE COMPANY.
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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I am agreeable, Mr. Speaker, if the House will agree, if the hon. member will now state which position he takes; and if he can reconcile them both, I will give him an opportunity of endeavouring to do so.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   BILL TO CONFIRM AGREEMENT WITH THE COMPANY.
Permalink
UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

This proceeding is

highly irregular; but if it is the will of the House that the hon. gentleman shall have unanimous leave to speak again, I shall put the question to the House.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   BILL TO CONFIRM AGREEMENT WITH THE COMPANY.
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Yes.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   BILL TO CONFIRM AGREEMENT WITH THE COMPANY.
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April 22, 1920