I beg to lay on the Table of the House the report of the Canadian delegate to the Conference on the Limitation of Armaments, held at Washington, November 12, 1921, to February 6, 1922, including the treaties and resolutions.
I move, seconded by Mr. Fielding:
That 2,000 copies in English and 1,000 in French of the report of the Canadian delegate to the Conference on the Limitation of Armaments, held at Washington, November 12, 1921, to February 6, 1922, including treaties and resolutions, laid upon the Table of the House on the 3rd of April, 1922, be printed forthwith: and that rule 74 be suspended in relation thereto.
Before the Orders of the Day are called, I would like to direct the attention of the leader of the Government to an article appearing in the press this morning to the effect that work on the Esquimalt dry dock has been ordered stopped. In that connection I would like to read a wire from
Nova Scotia Miners
the Associated Boards of Trade of British Columbia, dated Victoria, March 31. It reads
Whereas it has been brought to our notice that the Federal Government has ordered the suspension of work on the building of the Government dry dock at Esquimau; also we understand that the work on the floating dry dock at the Wallace shipyards, North Vancouver, has been discontinued by order of the Government; and exceedingly regretting that the Government has seen fit to stop both of these important works especially seeing that at Esquimau they have already expended approximately one and one half millions of dollars ; therefore be it resolved that this meeting of the Associated Boards of Trade of British Columbia in session at Victoria request the Government to immediately reconsider their decision in order that these important and necessary works for the development of the ports of Victoria and Vancouver be proceeded with as rapidly as possible.
This telegram clearly indicates that the matter is one of great importance not only to the ports mentioned, but also to the great shipping interests of the Pacific coast. I should be very glad indeed, therefore, to receive from the leader of the Government some statement as to what the Government intends to do in this connection.
I saw in this morning's paper the despatch to which my hon. friend has referred. I also noticed a communication which was reported to be a telegram from myself to the secretary of some organization in Victoria with regard to this matter. I should like to make it plain that I have not sent any communications at all; possibly the message referred to was sent by one of my colleagues and the press has got the Kings mixed. But the substance of this telegram attributed to me, indicated that the matter was receiving the attention of the Government. We have thought it advisable to have a report on the situation as it affects the dry docks of Victoria and Vancouver before proceeding further with the work. The matter fs under consideration.
Right Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Leader of the Opposition) :
Mr. Speaker, before the Orders of the Day are called I wish to put a question to the Government with regard to the positon of the present or apprehended strike in Nova Scotia. In this morning's press there is an announcement which purports to come from the Minister of Labour (Mr. Murdock). The substance of it is in five or six lines, which I will read:
I have not reconstituted the Gillen Board, and I shall not do so unless the "strike on the job" policy is abandoned and repudiated. It that policy is repudiated I shall be very glad to do anything in my power to bring about a settlement of the trouble.
Contrast that with the statement of the Government as embodied in the speech of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding), which may be compressed also into a very few words. After suggesting that th< Gillen Board should be reconstituted, and being asked by myself whether that intention on the part of the Government was to be carried out wholly irrespective of the order issued by Mr. McLachlan or conditional on that order being revoked, he said:
I made no condition about Mr. McLachlan at all, in fact I had not given that phase of the question much thought, but I think if we have legal power-and the Minister of Labour holds that we have-to revive the commission-I do not like the term "revive" ; I think the commission is still alive-they should be asked to resume the inquiry, go to Cape Breton and acquaint themselves sympathetically with conditions on the ground. I have every hope that if that is done you will have. a satisfactory conclusion of the difficulty.
That attitude I think was pretty generally accepted by the House as meaning that action on the part of the Department of Labour was not to abide the day of repentance on the part of McLachlan. May I ask, does the statement purporting to come from the Minister of Labour (Mr. Murdock) or the statement of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) of Thursday last represent the position of the Government to-day, or does neither?
friend's first query respecting the statement of my colleague the Minister of Labour (Mr. Murdock), I understand that statement has reference to a telegram the minister received from Mr. Baxter, the president of the miners, asking whether the board would be reconvened under certain conditions, and the reply of the minister had reference to the request as he received it from Mr. Baxter.
The position which the Government has taken was exactly as stated the other evening. The Government is quite prepared to reconvene the board, and the Minister of Labour has already in the last couple of days been in communication with Mr. Gillen the president of the board, obtaining his consent to act on the board the minute it is reconvened. The Government had expected to receive an intimation from either
one of the interested parties or from one of the members of the board asking for its reconvening. We thought that that request would be forthcoming. If it is much longer delayed, the Government will proceed with the establishment of the board without waiting for the request, but we thought it might facilitate the working of the board later on if one of the parties was sufficiently interested to request that it be reconvened.