April 19, 1922

LIB

William Frederic Kay

Liberal

Mr. KAY (Reading):

Get every farmer member to work and vote against that cursed daylight saving, for if it carries we might as well leave the country. So

Daylight Saving

please fight, it to the last ditch, and you will confer a favour on thousands of the sensible, thinking people of this Dominion.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Name?

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CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHURCH:

I would ask my hon.

friend, who is the writer of that letter? I think my hon. friend should lay the communication on the table.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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LIB

William Frederic Kay

Liberal

Mr. KAY:

From another letter I take

the following:

I learn that you are good enough to interest yourself in what has become, and proven to be, a great hardship and annoyance to the working classes in Canada. May I ask that you make a special effort this session of Parliament to have daylight saving prohibited in every city and town in the Dominion. ... It is a fight of the weak against the strong with money influence only. As a mother of five growing children, labouring from si* o'clock a.m. sun time every day in the year, you will appreciate how a thing like this wrecks one's nerves, especially women and children, not speaking of the hardship worked on the many who go to their daily occupation at a very early hour. The movement is purely a pleasure one to benefit those with time and money. It inconveniences no one by the abolishing of it. And why should the poor and less fortunate classes of this country be bumped around to 'please a certain set?

Here is a quotation from another letter:

Your proposed prohibition of daylight saving is the first actual attempt that I have seen to stop the growth of the idea that the farmers are a class of ignorant peasants whose interests do not deserve any consideration when they conflict with those of the superior beings who dwell in the cities.

Another letter contains the following:

As a reader of the Parliamentary news I wish to state that I am delighted to see that you are taking steps to prevent the further imposition upon this country of what is known as "daylight saving." Your action, if successful, will prevent further interference with "Standard Sun Time," and from what I personally know of conditions, I feel sure that you should receive the support of every member, whether Liberal or Progressive or Conservative. Personally, I feel that any member failing to support you would surely be untrue to his constituents. The farmers are the backbone of our country, and it is the time requirements of the farmers which should therefore be considered first, last and always.

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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

I rise to a

point of order. In the first place, I desire to ask a ruling upon the question whether or not the hon. gentleman is in order in reading anonymous communications, particularly communications reflecting upon members of the House. It has been held, I think, upon more than one occasion that this is entirely out of order, and should be deleted from Hansard, and, on previous

occasions such letters have been deleted from Hansard. I also desire to raise a question as to the competency of the House to deal with this matter. If we cannot deal with the question properly and authoritatively, we ought not to waste our time.

I desire a ruling as to whether this matter is within the competency of the Dominion Parliament.

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LIB
CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

What is

asked is that the municipalities should be prevented from changing the time. I would like to know whether we have anything to do with that, and whether that is not a question of. provincial authority?

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LIB
CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

I take it, Mr. Speaker, that the signatures of these letters must be given.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

The SPEAKER:

The custom is, when

a letter is read to the House, that the signature must be given.

Daylight Saving

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LIB

William Frederic Kay

Liberal

Mr. KAY:

I was going to deal with

the question of the golfing enthusiasts in a short time. I quite understand that the member from West York, (Sir Henry Drayton) being a very enthusiastic golfer, would strenously oppose any curtailment of daylight saving in this country. That, Sir, gives some support to the articles I was going to produce with reference to daylight saving, and those who are chiefly in favour of it. As far as I can find out, those people who have a good deal of leisure, those people who are so fortunate as to be able to come down to their offices at nine or ten o'clock in the morning and to leave at four or five o'clock in the afternoon are the people who are most strongly in favour of daylight saving, and in that class I place my hon. friend from West York. It is a curious thing that those people in this country who have the greatest amount of. pleasure are the people who are most keenly in favour of daylight saving. On the other hand, I find in the cities as well as in the country that people who rise early in the morning and get down to work at seven o'clock are almost unanimously opposed to daylight saving. After all, Sir, it is the toilers who work the longest hours who should be considered in a question of this kind. I do not know, Sir, whether your ruling is that I should not read any more letters, but I have three or four letters here, and, as my hon. friend from West York is not in his seat, perhaps I may continue reading one or two. My next letter reads:

I was very much pleased to read in this morning's paper of your intention to bring in a resolution to prohibit this daylight saving fad in any part of the Dominion. I have always thought that is the proper place to deal with it and put an end to a hardship for the many who are affected by it. The confusion of time throughout the Dominion caused by this fad is to say the very least a nuisance and in many cases an actual loss to commercial and other men.

Years have been spent in a successful effort to work out a standard time for the Dominion which is most satisfactory and no local faddists should be allowed to interfere with it.

I hope your resolution will become law and be applicable to 1922.

Then another letter reads as follows:

You are on the right track, and X hope you sucoeed in obtaining legislation that will abolish fast time for all time. Looking back to a period before standard time came into existence, and having in mind the chaos that existed in time regulations, I would opine that the majority of present-day citizens have little idea of how or why standard time was adopted.

The daily routine of ordinary life could be carried on in any community under any

standard time, but when business interests became interlocked over the country, a set time for all became an important item. This was a matter that affected railways more than any any other line of business. Railways were the first to seek a remedy. Standard time was the outcome of conferences in Canada and the United States, In 1883, an International Conference of railwaymen of the United States and Canada, was held at Washington, D.C., October, 1883, and adopted standard time to take effect at noon on November 18, 1883. The general public fell in line with the railways and standard time was almost universally used throughout the United States and Canada. Many of the 'States passed laws for its adoption. It does not seem we have a Canadian statute making standard time a legal time for the whole Dominion, 'which is desirable.

I agree with the last remark that a standard time for the whole country is most desirable. I am told that, in the city and also in the country, daylight saving time is very injurious to the health of children, for the reason that children cannot be made to go to bed by daylight saving time. They wish to stay up until the usual hour, as they know it under standard time, arrives. Mothers of large families find it very difficult, under daylight saving time, to get their children off to school and to ensure that they receive the required amount of rest, and this, Sir, in my opinion, would alone be a sufficient reason for the prohibition of daylight saving in this country. The future of Canada rests with our children the rising generation; and if they are deprived of sufficient rest, they will become unhealthy, nervous and unfitted to carry on their work as the future workers of this country. If this Parliament has not power to prohibit daylight saving time or to enforce standard time throughout the country, I would strongly recommend that the British North America Act be amended to give this Parliament that power.

As I said in my opening remarks, it would be even better than the state of confusion through which we passed during the previous summer, to have one standard time; and if the majority of the people desire to have daylight saving time, I would regretfully acquiesce in its being passed, so" long as that time is legal throughout the length and breadth of the land. I am sure I need not tell hon. members that the farmers of this country cannot successfully carry on their farm work under daylight saving time. One often hears golfers and other city men, who are so much in favour of daylight saving, say: "Why cannot the farmers go on the old time? They

Daylight Saving

are not obliged to go on daylight saving time on their farms." But many farmers, who ship their produce to the cities, are obliged to rise in order to catch the early morning train into the city, and as the railroads advance their time one hour, the farmers are compelled to rise that hour earlier. It is not a fad with the farmers to object to daylight saving; they do not object to the city men getting an extra hour for their golf; but during the harvest season, it is absolutely impossible for the farmer, if he is operating on the early time, to get his crops in, because the sun does not rise on the crops any earlier on account of our putting our clocks forward one hour. The sun goes on the same old time and the crops are cured by the sun, so that if we are working on daylight saving time, we lose an hour of the best time of the day. Another argument that I have heard is: "Oh, well, the farmer works from daylight to dark anyway, so what difference does it make to him what time it is by the clock?" My experience, as a farmer, is that nowadays men do not work from daylight to dark; they stop work at the same time as other workers do, and I would not feel that I was doing my duty if I asked my men to work eighteen to twenty hours a day, because the farmer is entitled to the same hours of work as any other labourer in this country.

I hope this resolution will receive the support of many hon. members. I am not so optimistic, as some people who have written me are, who expect that ninety per cent of the membership of this House will support the resolution. But I feel that this is a very serious question, a big question for the country; and, notwithstanding the opinion of the ex-Minister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton) who thinks we are wasting our time in this House by discussing it, I for one, feel that it is a question which deserves the serious consideration of this House at this time.

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CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (North Toronto):

I had not intended taking part in this debate, but since the hon. member has deemed it fit to read an anonymous letter from a newspaper, I think it my duty to say a word or two on the subject. I was surprised that the hon. gentleman should read such a letter, because it is contrary to the rules of the House; and I shall ask you, Mr. Speaker, before I conclude to give a ruling on the question. This letter appeared in an evening newspaper of Toronto,

a newspaper that for two years advocated daylight saving, not only from the health and economic standpoints, but for many other reasons. Now, I did not introduce daylight saving in the city of Toronto. The railways started it one year and the city followed. The people voted on the measure and it carried by a majority of ten to one. We had petitions from all classes; from the working people in the city over which I had the honour to preside, from the health officers, from the soldiers' organizations, and from others; and it was during the war that the principle was introduced. The military authorities, the [DOT]board of trade of the city, the patriotic societies, the railways, and many other public bodies were unanimous in the request that the mayors of the municipalities should, by proclamation, introduce daylight saving in their various localities. There was no federal or provincial law on the subject, nor were there any municipal regulations. The municipalities adopted the scheme simply through proclamation by their mayors. I shall not go into the history of daylight saving, which had its inception in Germany in 1914, about the time the war broke out. At that time Great Britain also adopted it, the House of Commons and the House of Lords unanimously favouring the principle. France, Holland, and twelve other European countries followed suit, and today daylight saving is observed in the Mother Country and on the Continent. Great Britain a short time ago passed a measure making for uniformity with France and other countries. The principle was thoroughly investigated by a committee of both Houses of Parliament in the Mother Country, a copy of whose report I have here. This committee made a study of the practical working of daylight saving in England, Germany, France, Holland, and other countries which had adopted it of necessity, because of considerations of health and economy, and they unreservedly recommended it for Great Britain as well. The difficulty in connection with the practice of daylight saving in Canada is not due to any inherent defect in the system itself, for all the large cities in Canada adopted the principle by large majorities; and I know that it has proved a success in the city over which it was my privilege .and honour to preside. The first year it was introduced I did not receive a single complaint from any public body or any private individual; and, as I have said, the letter which the hon. member read was published in a newspaper that for two years favoured daylight saving in Toronto, but, evidently

Daylight Saving

currying favour with a certain section of the labour organizations-the socialistic section-afterwards changed its attitude. There were four anonymous letters published in that newspaper, written in the newspaper office, one of them being the anonymous communication which the hon. member has read. The second year the plan worked just as satisfactorily as before, and we asked the people to vote upon it, the result being that they endorsed it by a huge majority.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the difficulty of enforcing daylight saving in this country is due to the lack of co-ordination between the various parts of the Dominion and to lack of nation-wide enactment. As I say, the principle itself is perfectly sound, and in practice has proved a success in Europe and the United States, as well as the other countries I have named. It was investigated by the United States Senate, the Interstate Commerce Commission, the Chamber of Commerce at Washington,- which has a membership of between forty and fifty thousand business men-and by Various boards of trade throughout the country. These bodies were all agreed that from the standpoint of health, from the standpoint of economy, in the saving of light and power, and because of the benefit that accrues to the children of the country, to the farmers, to the business community, daylight saving is not only desirable but necessary. In the absence of federal or provincial law on the subject in this country, many municipalities adopted daylight saving, largely for health reasons and because of the recreation it afforded the labouring population, as well as for the reasons I have stated; and in Montreal, also in my own city, and in other places in Canada, the children have benefited to a very great extent by the lengthening of the day. In 1917, Sir George Foster introduced a nation-wide bill which, I understand, did not pass. It is a pity that that measure was not adopted, because it sought to make the application of daylight saving nation-wide. If it had carried, I believe that even the farmers would not have the objection which they seem to have to daylight saving in some parts of the country. Technically speaking, the railways have no daylight saving, but in practice they have, because in summer they advance

4 p.m. their timetable an hour in Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, London and other places, so that the smaller centres have to fall in line. If the United States

have daylight saving our time should synchronise with theirs.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I was surprised to hear a supporter of a Liberal administration speaking in favour of prohibition in this regard. We had a declaration the other day from the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) in which he said that he was opposed to prohibition in this country. And I agree with him. After all is said and done, there are too many prohibitory laws and interferences with the liberty of the subject to-day; if we keep on in this course, pretty soon men will have no liberty whatever. A man should be able to do what he pleases so long as he interferes with nobody's rights and interests. I contend that this Parliament has no power under the British North America Act to pass the legislation which this resolution recommends. At any rate, if it is passed, I trust it will be treated as a mere "scrap of paper," because there can be no law to prohibit me from advancing my watch ten minutes or ten hours if I choose to do so. Soon we shall have laws prohibiting a man from going to church or going to work. I really cannot see any reason why this resolution has been introduced. Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and other cities have had daylight saving, and I have read in the last few days that the municipal associations in the country are in favour of the system.

Daylight saving has been a great success wherever it has been observed, and if we made it nation-wide in Canada I have no doubt that its benefits would be appreciated. Any defect in its operation is due to the lack of a nation-wide enactment co-ordination between the various parts of the country and the United States. The Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) the other day, in answer to a question I asked, said that it was not the intention of the Government to adopt a measure of national daylight saving, but he said that where a municipality had adopted daylight saving, the local government offices, such as the customs house, the post office, etc., would conform. The government of Ontario have adopted this policy and all provincial government offices are under daylight saving where a municipality so endorses a daylight saving measure.

Now, Sir, I am going to ask for a ruling as to whether an anonymous letter can be read and incorporated in the records of the House. I feel this to be contrary to rule. Latterly the railway companies have been communicating with the municipalities, ask-

Daylight Saving

ing them, if possible, to have their daylight saving run concurrently with the summertime schedules of the railways. In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I would ask for a ruling on that point of order before the debate closes.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I have already ruled that the letter in question might be read during this debate, because I find in it nothing reflecting upon the character of any hon. member. If there were anything in it of that nature, I certainly would not permit the reading of it. Bourinot says that while a member should not during the course of a debate abuse the privilege of reading letters and documents, he may, subject to certain limitations, read extracts from documents, books or other printed publications as part of his speech, provided that in so doing he does not infringe any points of order. I do not see any point of order in the present instance, because the letter in question bears directly on the subject which is now being debated, a subject which is a matter of public interest, affecting the whole of the Dominion. On the whole, and without prejudice, I think the hon. member for Missisquoi (Mr. Kay) has presented a fair case, without in any way reflecting upon the character of any hon. member. If anything in that letter did reflect upon the character of a member of the House, I would have it expunged from Hansard.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Leader of the Opposition) :

I do not rise to question at all the propriety of your ruling, Mr. Speaker, that this motion is not out of order in the sense of contravening any of the rules of this House, because, in the first place, your Honour's ruling has been given, and, in the next place, I think the ruling is right. I am of opinion myself that a resolution proposing to do even what is beyond the competence of Parliament is, nevertheless, not for that reason a resolution that is without the rules of Parliament. This House might resolve to do something which was purely within the powers of the provincial legislature, or might express opinion by resolution thereon. Certainly, the provincial legislatures have adopted the practice of resolving on many things that are wholly within the competence of this Parliament-such as reciprocity in trade, reduction of railway rates, and the like- and it would follow from that, if from no other reason, that we would have corresponding rights here.

But what I do rise to say is this-this resolution and the debate upon it are necessarily and manifestly futile. There can be no question, to my mind, that this Parliament has no right to restrain any municipality or public body that desires, if it chooses, to adopt within its limits daylight saving. I do not think any member of this House would say that we had any colour of right to act in that respect. We have certain rights, as you, Mr. Speaker, have defined, in relation to the daylight saving question. We could, for example, establish daylight saving within those institutions under the control of this Parliament. Possibly we have still further rights than that; I do not need to discuss that question-we have that right, anyway. But to say or suggest that we have any right to pass legislation putting it out of the power of a municipality to adopt daylight saving-* well, is to suggest something that does not admit even of argument or of serious consideration. Consequently, where are we going, what are we doing, when we are absorbing time of this Parliament in discussing such a resolution as this? I submit, it is waste, and that we would do ourselves better credit, and would better discharge our duties if the debate, without further discussion, were to close.

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LIB

Thomas Vien

Liberal

Mr. THOMAS VIEN (Lotbiniere) :

Mr. Speaker, I think the right hon. leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen) has " changed arms," as we say in military phrase. I remember a hot debate which took place in this Chamber a very few years ago on this same question, and the right hon. gentleman then fought the battle of the measure that we now oppose. A bill was introduced by the then Conservative government under the Right Hon. Sir Robert Borden. It was introduced by Sir George Foster, who exercised himself for over two hours to convince the House that the measure should pass in the interests of the whole country. I remember that quite a few hon. gentlemen who were sitting then behind the Treasury benches, and who are still in the House, sitting behind their hon. friend on the other side, had to be whipped in to vote for the measure, even though it was a government bill. I remember, for instance, if my hon. friend will allow me, the member for Fort William (Mr. Manion) rising and saying: "I am against the measure; I stand for freedom."

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

May I correct my hon. friend? I am sure he does not wish to misquote me. The only two times-in fact,

Daylight Saving

I think the only time-I ever spoke on this question in the House, I supported daylight saving.

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LIB

Thomas Vien

Liberal

Mr. VIEN:

Yes; I was just going to say in what way the hon. gentleman did support it. He stated that he was against the introduction of legislation in favour of daylight saving, but that if it were a question of confidence he was not going to put the administration out of office on a measure relating to daylight saving.

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I think my hon. friend is misquoting me. I may be wrong, but I do not think so. I would like to have him quote me, if he will.

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LIB

Thomas Vien

Liberal

Mr. VIEN:

I will get Hansard and I will quote my hon. friend's very words, in a few minutes. But the hon. gentleman will not contradict me when I say that he stood up in the House and asked the then leader of the Opposition, Right Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier, if it was a question of confidence. Sir Wilfrid Laurier answered that it was not a question of confidence. A few minutes later Sir Robert Borden came into the House and objected to an hon. member sitting behind the Treasury benches inquiring from the leader of the Opposition whether or not the question involved a vote of want of confidence.

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April 19, 1922