June 17, 1924

HON. MR. MURDOCK AND HOME BANK

LIB

Joseph Archambault

Liberal

Mr. JOSEPH ARCHAMBAULT (Chambly and Vercheres):

Mr. Speaker, I beg leave

to present the second report of the select standing committee on Privileges and Elections. I also lay on the Table the evidence taken and the exhibits filed before said committee. The report is as follows:

Your committee, having considered the resolution referred to the select standing committee on Privileges and Elections on May 22, 1924, as follows:-

" Thursday, May, 22, 1924. Ordered,-That the following:-

Mr. Porter, seconded by Mr. Guthrie, moved, Tha/t, E. Guss Porter, member representing the electoral riding of West Hastings, in this House, having declared from his seat in the House that he is credibly informed and that he believes he is able to establish by satisfactory evidence that:-

The Honourable James Murdock, Minister of Labour, did withdraw from the Home Bank at its Ottawa branch on the 15th day of August, 1923, two days before such bank's failure, thousands of dollars on deposit therein to his credit, using certain information he had received, as such minister, of the likely immediate failure of said bank, and had received advantage and profit to himself to the extent of such withdrawals, contrary to his obligations as such minister in derogation of his office and the honour, dignity and traditions of parliament, be referred to the select standing committee on Privileges of this House to inquire fully into the said allegations with power to send for persons, papers and records, to examine witnesses under oath or affirmation, and that the said committee do report in full the evidence taken before (them and all other procedure on the reference, and the result of their inquiries to this House for such action thereon as this House may determine.

Attest.

W. B. Northrup,

Clerk of the House of Commons." and having heard the evidence given by all witnesses submitted in support of the charge contained in said

resolution and all evidence and statements made in answer thereto, and examined all exhibits filed on such inquiry, beg leave to report as follows:-

The evidence taken by the committee shows that Honourable James Murdock on the 15th of August, 1923, drew out of the Home Bank of Canada, at its Ottawa branch, the sum of $4,050, but there is no evidence to show that before so drawing out said sum he had received information as a cabinet minister, of the probable failure of said bank. The evidence also shows that the only information Mr. Murdock had of the probable failure of said bank was received as a private citizen from Honourable G. N. Gordon, in a friendly interview on the 9th of August, 1923.

The committee finds that Honourable James Murdock did nothing in connection with the withdrawal of such money from the Home Bank contrary to his obligation as a minister of the Crown, or in derogation of his office and the honour, dignity, and traditions of parliament, and that the charge submitted to this committee for investigation, so far as it affects the honour of Mr. Murdock, is not only not proved but entirely disproved.

Your committee submit herewith the minutes of proceedings and exhibits laid before the committee, and evidence taken by them.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

J. Archambault,

Chairman.

Topic:   HON. MR. MURDOCK AND HOME BANK
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TREATY WITH FINLAND

LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal

Hon. J. A. ROBB (Acting Minister of Finance):

For the information of the House, I lay on the Table copy of treaty of commerce and navigation between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and Finland.

PRIVILEGE-MR. HUDSON On the Orders of the Day.

Topic:   TREATY WITH FINLAND
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LIB

Albert Blellock Hudson

Liberal

Mr. A. B. HUDSON (South Winnipeg):

I desire to refer to a matter of personal privilege. Yesterday in the House a question was asked affecting me, which will be found on page 3223 of Hansard as follows:

Mr. Hudson, M.P.

Mr. Harris:

Is Mr. A. B. Hudson, K#C., M.P. member for South Winnipeg, the same A. B. Hudson, K.C., M.P., who is a member of the legal firm of Hudson, Ormond, Spice & Symington, the latter member of said firm being the Mr. Symington who is paid by the government as counsel on the Home Bank Inquiry?

Hon. Mr. Lapointe: Yes.

That question and answer 'as they appear in Hansard are calculated to create the impression that I am a partner of Mr. Symington in regard to this particular transaction. That is not true. I am not Mr. Symington's partner in this transaction. I have no interest in it, and when Mr. Symington was employed it was expressly stipulated both with him and with the govern'ment that the retainer should be ia purely personal one on his part. Morever I wish to say that Mr. Symington was not employed at my sug-

Postal Employees

gestion or on account of any association with me.

Topic:   TREATY WITH FINLAND
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Justice):

I desire to confirm in every way

what my hon. friend has just stated. When I, acting for the government, asked; Mr. Symington to represent the government before that commission, I never had any communication with my hon. friend at all in regard to the matter.

Topic:   TREATY WITH FINLAND
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SALARIES OF POSTAL EMPLOYEES

MOTION, MR. CHURCH, TO DISCUSS A MATTER OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE


On the Orders of the Day.


LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. member for

North Toronto (Mr. Church) has handed me the following:

I ask leave to move an adjournment of the House under Rule 39 for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely:

The application or request of the postal employees received by the government since yesterday for an amendment to the present statute relating to the revised schedule of wages by the Civil Service Commission and the refusal of the employees to accept the said schedule, and their intimation that within forty-eight hours a strike will occur which will, if allowed, cause great damage to trade and commerce and inconvenience to the public and to the business of parliament as well. And for the object of asking this hon. House to consider some form of conciliation, either by granting the employees a board of conciliation or otherwise, or by appointing a Select Committee of the House to consider the case and suggest amending legislation, if any, they deem just and advisable in the matter or for the purpose of taking such other or further action as is deemed advisable, and if leave is granted, I beg leave to move, seconded by Mr. Maclean (South York): "That this House

do now adjourn."

Rule 39 reads:

(1) A motion to adjourn (except when made for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance) shall always be in order, but no second motion to the same effect shall be made until after some intermediate proceeding has been had.

(2) Leave to make a motion for the adjournment of the House (when made for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance) must be asked after the ordinary daily routine of business (Rule 25) has been concluded and before notices of motions or orders of the day are entered upon.

The rule is that the Speaker must decide if the matter of the motion is of urgent public ' importance. The hon. member who makes the motion hands the Speaker a written statement of the matter, which the Speaker reads to the House. This I have done. The Speaker then asks whether the member has the leave of the House to make the motion. In my humble opinion this matter, a threatened strike which may paralyze the whole of the postal service in Canada, is a matter of urgent public importance. But there is another obligation which must follow my decision that it is a matter of urgent public importance, it is that if objection is taken more than twenty members must rise to indicate the desire that the member may proceed with his motion. So, if it is the desire of the House that the hon. member shall proceed, more than twenty members must rise.

The Clerk Assistant having stated that more than twenty members had risen.

Topic:   SALARIES OF POSTAL EMPLOYEES
Subtopic:   MOTION, MR. CHURCH, TO DISCUSS A MATTER OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
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CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

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

I I have no intention of taking up more than three minutes of the time of the House on this occasion. The matter is a very important one to the entire city I represent. The members of the House have had no opportunity of discussing this question as they have been waiting for the estimates of the Postmaster General before dealing with the matter, and they have not even yet been considered. Neither have the civil service estimates been considered nor have we had an opportunity of discussing this matter and bringing the facts before the House.

The city from which I come contributes six million dollars to the postal revenue, and the business men of that city are becoming alarmed as to what may happen if some action is not taken by the government. This question has been hanging fire for several months past and tossed about to and fro. Some time ago the matter was considered, and the government assigned to the Civil Service Commission and the deputy ministers the duty of making a survey and drawing up a new schedule of salaries. The Prime Minister laid on the table the correspondence between the various boards considering the case and said it was not within the province of the government to take any action.

This matter was referred to the Audit Board and the Civil Service Commission, who have now made their report. It was bandied about from pillar to post, and the employees have become very much annoyed over the delay and the way in which the case has been handled. Notwithstanding the high cost of living to-day, the scale as recommended by the Civil Service Commission, turning the bonus into salary, works out at a reduction of $179,000 a year. I am not going to enter into any discussion o* the report of the Audit Board and the Civil Service Commission to the government, but the government might have taken the House into their confidence a little more and told the Civil Service Commission candidly: We are prepared to go so far in the revision of salaries upward. That has not been done.

The Civil Service Commission have been blamed by the government, and while I am

Postal Employees

not prepared to go so far as to say that they should be 'blamed or are at all to blame, I think the government and this House should do something to protect the country from the great inconvenience that will be caused if a strike occurs. The ultimatum I believe has been issued' and will expire in a few hours and if a strike happens it will paralyze business. Coming from an industrial city, I know how strikes tie up business. The business men of the country surely deserve some consideration, and a showdown on this whole question is requested. I know that the postal employees in the district from which I come are not the kickers; they are patriotic citizens and the last thing they would want to do is to inconvenience the public one iota. In view of that they have been long suffering and patient, and I hope the government has some favourable statement to make to-day in the matter. For these reasons I did not like to move this resolution, but many business men, commercial firms and public bodies in the city from which I come, requested me to bring the matter before the House and get some action on it. I could not get it before the House on the Orders of the Day nor on the Post Office estimates, and the only course I had open to me was to move this resolution. I have received numerous letters and telegrams from public bodies-a strike vote will be counted to-day at six o'clock; I have been told that the men are to strike.

It has taken nearly six years since the war ended for this bonus to be turned into a straight salary recommendation. The city of Toronto and outside commissions have about 12,000 employees to whom they used to give a war bonus; but as soon as they could after the war they turned the bonus into a straight salary. I urge upon the government to do something to avert this coming strike. What I suggest is that the employees are entitled to either, first, a board of conciliation under the Industrial Disputes Act or, second, a select committee of the House should be appointed to bring in a report within ten days recommending how far we should go in the matter of revision of the statute. If the House does something, a strike will be averted, but if a strike is not averted the trade and commerce of the country will be very seriously hampered. The facts are known to every one and I ask for immediate action before it is too late.

Topic:   SALARIES OF POSTAL EMPLOYEES
Subtopic:   MOTION, MR. CHURCH, TO DISCUSS A MATTER OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN (South York):

Mr. Speaker, in seconding the motion, I take advantage of this opportunity to call the

attention of the Prime Minister to a discussion that took place on this matter yesterday:

Mr. Maclean (York): In view of the probability

of there being some trouble between the government and the men, is there not some action open to the government which might meet the situation?

Mr. Mackenzie King: The government will be

pleased to receive from my hon. friend or any other hon. gentleman any suggestion be wishes to make in that regard.

With that view of the matter, I hope the Prime Minister will take this as a suggestion -perhaps someone else may have a better one-and bring about some action that will avert this strike.

Topic:   SALARIES OF POSTAL EMPLOYEES
Subtopic:   MOTION, MR. CHURCH, TO DISCUSS A MATTER OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Eight Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

The motion which has

been presented to the House opens with the following declaration:

The application or request of the postal employees received by the government since yesterday for an amendment to the present statute relating to the revised schedule of wages by the Civil Service Commission and the refusal of the employees to accept the said schedule, and their intimation that within forty-eight hours a strike will occur which will, if allowed, cause great damage to trade and commerce and inconvenience to the public and to business of parliament as well.

That declaration, so far as the government is a-ware, is quite inaccurate. No application or request of the postal employees has been received by the government since yesterday. I do not know where my hon. friend got his information; but neither the Acting Postmaster General (Mr. Stewart) nor myself- and I think it would be the one or the other to whom a communication of this kind would be addressed-has, up to the present time, received any such application as is referred to in the motion of my hon. friend. The motion uses the words,

their intimation that within forty-eight hours a strike will occur.

The government has received no intimation to that effect. Perhaps my hon. friend would tell the House the source of his information. I think it ought to be made perfectly clear to hon. members that since the schedule attached to the report of the Civil Service Commission has been sent to representatives of the postal employees, the government has received from them no official communication whatever. What has appeared in the press has appeared in the press without the knowledge of the government as to the sources from which the different declarations were emanating. Up to the present time no communication of the nature described in the motion has been received. On the other hand', I understand that the Minister of Labour (Mr. Murdock) and the Acting Post-

Postal Employees

master General have both taken steps to intimate to representatives of the postal employees that they would be pleased to receive them in conference and hoped that any such action as that which was being referred to in the press would not be taken by them without the most careful consideration in every particular.

Topic:   SALARIES OF POSTAL EMPLOYEES
Subtopic:   MOTION, MR. CHURCH, TO DISCUSS A MATTER OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
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LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. IRVINE:

Does such an invitation by the Minister of Labour mean anything in view of the fact that no alteration can be made in the revised schedule unless parliament makes that alteration?

Topic:   SALARIES OF POSTAL EMPLOYEES
Subtopic:   MOTION, MR. CHURCH, TO DISCUSS A MATTER OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Perhaps my

hon. friend will let me proceed further with what I intend to say. When the government referred to the Civil Service Commission the revision of salaries of postal employees, that was part of a larger reference embracing the entire public service. The clause in the order in council in that connection reads:

The committee of the Privy Council, on the recommendation of the President of the Privy Council, advise that, in accordance with the announcement made by him in the House of Commons on the 19th March, 1924, (copy of which is submitted), the Civil Service Commission be directed to undertake immediately a revision of the salaries of the Civil Service of Canada and to report thereon to His Excellency in Council at as early a date as may be possible.

It is the salaries of the entire Civil Service of Canada that the Civil Service Commission is being asked to report upon at the present time. To oblige the postal employees, the government asked that their department be the first to be taken up by the Civil Service Commission, but that as soon as it was concluded, the other departments of the government should then be proceeded with. In the report which the Civil Service Commission made to the government on the 8th May, the following paragraph is included:

The importance of this revision in the postal service will be apparent when it is considered that increases in basic rates of compensation and consequent increased cost of the service would not be confined to the postal service, but must necessarily be also applied to the whole public service as the work of salary revision is proceeded with.

I hope that hon. members and1 the country will appreciate the significance of that statement in the report of the Civil Service Commission to the government,- that in taking up the revision of the salaries of postal employees they have had in mind the principles which will obtain with respect to the entire public service of the Dominion. The government feel that to take any action at this moment beyond approving what the Civil Service Commission has recommended might be most prejudicial to the further inquiry which the Civil Service Commission is making, inasmuch as the country will not know until the commission has concluded its examination of the revision what the cost to the country, of the practical application of the recommendations is going to be. We therefore feel that until we have before us the report from the Civil Service Commission with respect to the entire Civil Service we shall not be in a position to consider, as we should be able to consider in all its aspects, what the consequence would be of recommending to parliament any concession or any addition to the salaries of any classes of employees beyond what may be recommended by the Civil Service Commission.

We are prepared, when the Civil Service Commission has submitted its report upon the salaries of the entire Civil Service, to consider that report carefully in the light of all the material which we have before us and to make to parliament, if we think it advisable so to do, recommendations supplementing those which are contained in the report of the Civil Service Commission. But we do not feel that we are in a position to make any recommendations to parliament at the present time with respect to the postal employees; and I hope that the employees of the Post Office Department will see that the position which the government is taking is one which is in the interests of the entire Civil Service and in the interest of the taxpayers of the country as well.

Topic:   SALARIES OF POSTAL EMPLOYEES
Subtopic:   MOTION, MR. CHURCH, TO DISCUSS A MATTER OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
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LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. IRVINE:

Is the government satisfied

with the revision in so far as it applies to the postal workers? In the government's opinion, is the rate of salaries in this particular sufficiently high?

Topic:   SALARIES OF POSTAL EMPLOYEES
Subtopic:   MOTION, MR. CHURCH, TO DISCUSS A MATTER OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

The government has taken the report of the Civil Service Commission as received and has approved it so as to enable such increases as are set out therein to go into effect immediately. I have already indicated that until the government has received the report respecting the entire sendee of Canada and is able to state to parliament and to the country what an addition in any one direction is going to mean in the cost to the nation, the government is not prepared to express any further opinion than that which has been given by its action so far.

Topic:   SALARIES OF POSTAL EMPLOYEES
Subtopic:   MOTION, MR. CHURCH, TO DISCUSS A MATTER OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
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LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. IRVINE:

In that case, would it not

be better to continue the cost of living bonus to the postal employeees until such time as the commission's full report has been submitted to the government?

Postal Employees

Topic:   SALARIES OF POSTAL EMPLOYEES
Subtopic:   MOTION, MR. CHURCH, TO DISCUSS A MATTER OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

The matter of salary revision has already been referred to the Commission and parliament apparently approved of that action at the time it was taken. No exception was taken by hon. members, including my hon. friend, to the course which was being adopted by the government in referring the matter to the Civil Service Commission; and, that action having been taken, with the entire approval of the House, it seems to me that the House should support the government in standing by the recommendations which the Civil Service Commission has made, until at least we have received information covering the service as a whole.

Topic:   SALARIES OF POSTAL EMPLOYEES
Subtopic:   MOTION, MR. CHURCH, TO DISCUSS A MATTER OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
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LIB

William Daum Euler

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

When the complete report

is received, if the government should decide that the salaries now paid to postal employees are not sufficient, will any addition that might be made be retroactive?

Topic:   SALARIES OF POSTAL EMPLOYEES
Subtopic:   MOTION, MR. CHURCH, TO DISCUSS A MATTER OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
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June 17, 1924