January 25, 1926

CON

Isaac Duncan MacDougall

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDOUGALL:

Will the hon. member give any instance since confederation when troops were sent to the province of Nova Scotia by a Conservative government, and any instance where we ever had a strike in the coal fields of Nova Scotia under a Conservative government?

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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

I am thankful to say that I am not conversant with the politics of Nova Scotia, consequently I cannot deal with what happened under a Conservative government or any other government in that province. What I do know is that the Conservative leader in this House sent troops into Winnipeg in 1919.

Mr MioQUARRIE: Would the hon. member suggest that they were not needed?

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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

I certainly do. They were sent there for provocative purposes and nothing else.

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CON
LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

I happened to be there, and I know, whereas the hon. gentleman was not there.

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CON
LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

If the hon. gentleman has

any question to ask and will ask it in the

manner customary in this House, I shall be glad to answer it, but I have no desire to enter into any conversations across the floor. I have in my hand a copy of a paper published in Halifax called the Halifax Herald. I do not know its politics. All I know is that it says:

The Herald is devoted to public service, with fair and unbiased news stories.

So anything published in this paper, I presume, will be true. This article is dated December 28 and states:

Replying to charges that conditions at these two collieries were not better than they had been in the past, Attorney General John C. Douglas declared he would call a meeting of the government to-morrow to discuss the matter, when he would propose a solution of the trouble. He advocated procuring a coal contract from the Canadian National! Railways through the federal government, which would enable the corporation to carry on banking operations throughout the winter, the local government, if necessary, to bear the expense.

This comes from Halifax, and I have heard nothing further about the Conservative government in that city taking any action in regard to the coal situation. I am coming to the conclusion that a good deal of the trouble lies nearer to Halifax than to the city of Ottawa. Might I quote now from something that was stated in this House on February 24, 1925? I presume the gentleman who made this statement did so with full ' authority. Mr. Kyte was formerly a member of this House, although I do not know for what constituency he stood.

M'r. CHAPLIN (Lincoln): He is at home

now.

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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

I do not object to his sitting at home. Mr. Kyte said:

Knowing the conditions in Sydney at the present time I accept the statement attributed to Mr. McLurg in this despatch; there is no doubt or question about it. But my right hon. friend and his friends will doubt it, and I question whether they will be very highly elated when they find that the statement made here is true. The question of unemployment, therefore, is about settled so far as Sydne3r and Glace Bay are concerned. If this despatch is true, and I believe it is; if the steel plant will soon be working on a basis of one hundred per cent production, then there will be employment for every steel worker in the city of Sydney and for every coal miner in the county of Cape Breton.

Within twelve months of this statement being made by one of the former representatives of Cape Breton, we are again faced with the situation that there is more trouble in that area. We were told in this Statement that if at that time the question could only be settled-and we were assured it was-there would be no further unemployment amongst the steel workers or coal miners of Cape

Nova Scotia Miners

Breton. What do we find? We find that to-day there is the same acute problem in Cape Breton as there was a vear ago. and I am satisfied that so long as the British Empire Steel Corporation remains in Nova Scotia the same situation will exist there.

Last summer, when the question of relief was so acute, I received a letter from a lady in the mining area of Nova Scotia, and perhaps it is worth while giving the substance of that communication. She said:

Before Besco came into Nova Scotia we did not know what poverty or trouble was in this particular area; but since Besco has come in, we have always had trouble in this particular district.

That seems to sum up the situation fairly well. Since the British Empire Steel Corporation became organized it has always been a question of a fight either between the government and Besco or between Besco and the men who are in its employ. There was a time not very long ago when Besco threatened the citv of Sydney, telling the people of that city that if they, Besco, could not get their way they would allow grass to grow in the streets of Sydney. Any corporation which has the power to threaten a city like Sydney should not be allowed to continue in business). If they can make such threats to a city and! then come here and make further threats as they have done for quite a time, then I say that it is time there was a policy not only on the part of this government but on the part of the government of Nova Scotia as well. The question is, therefore, is Besco going to rule Nova Beotia, or are the common people of Nova Scotia going to rule?

At six o'clock the House took recess.

After Recess

The House resumed at eight o'clock.

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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

Mr. Speaker, in opening my

remarks I mentioned that I was extremely grateful to the hon. gentleman opposite for having introduced this particular question this afternoon. I was glad to notice also that the co-operation of the group to which I belong was sought. I think I would have been far more satisfied, however, if the hon. gentleman who introduced this question had given those interested some notice of his intention to do so. It so happens that this afternoon the ieader of the group to which I belong is out of the city. He knows far more about this question than I do; he has studied it from every angle and could have dealt with it in a more able manner than I possibly could. The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre

(Mr. Woodsworth) and -the late member for East Calgary. Mr. Irvine, introduced this question into this House on many occasions. As a new member I am very glad to see that there are several other members now in this House who are taking up the cudgels on behalf,

I hope, of the miners of Nova Scotia. I say miners advisedly, because in the discussion this afternoon, if I heard correctly, one of the hon. members opposite said he represented Besco. To me that appears rather a frank admission *and a rather unusual statement to make in this House.

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CON

John Alexander (1883-1945) Macdonald

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDONALD (Richmond-West Cape Breton):

Might I ask the hon. member for

North Winnipeg (Mr. Heaps) who on this side of the House made that statement?

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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

I think it was one of the

hon. gentlemen sitting over there. I do not know his name or the constituency he represents, but I do not think there is any doubt that the statement was made.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

That statement was not

made, as the hon. member himself knows.

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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

Some hon. members near me say tlie statement was made; others say it wa.j not made. If such a statement was not made I will be the first to withdraw my -remarks.

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CON

John Alexander (1883-1945) Macdonald

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDONALD (Richmond-West Cape Breton):

Mr. Speaker, I was in the House-

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Unless it is a question of privilege there is no reason why any hon. member should interrupt the hon. member who has the floor.

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CON

John Alexander (1883-1945) Macdonald

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDONALD (Richmond-West Cape Breton):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask-

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

When an hon. member has the floor no interruptions Should take place without his permission.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Mr. Speaker, I submit

that it is a question of privilege.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

If it is a question of

privilege the right hon. gentleman must raise it as such.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I do raise it. The hon. member has said that a member of this House, of the party to the left of the Speaker, stated that he was here representing Besco. No member has a right to- represent a company in this House, and no member does. The hon. member has no right to ascribe that language to any member of this House, and especially has he not the right when his assertion is untrue.

Nova Scotia Miners

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January 25, 1926