March 18, 1926

CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

It was not futile.

Topic:   EXPLOITATION OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   INDUSTRIAL FREEDOM OF CONTRACT AND ACTION
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CON

Horatio Clarence Hocken

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HOCKEN:

I was discussing this

resolution which reads:

That no person should be induced or compelled by undue influence, threats of dismissal, loss of wages or position or by any other unfair and improper means, to work for wages less than the standard.

I presume my hon. friend means union wages. What is the standard wage?

Topic:   EXPLOITATION OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   INDUSTRIAL FREEDOM OF CONTRACT AND ACTION
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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

The standard wage current for that class of work in that district.

Topic:   EXPLOITATION OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   INDUSTRIAL FREEDOM OF CONTRACT AND ACTION
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CON

Horatio Clarence Hocken

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HOCKEN:

There may be several standard wage scales in the district. I am one of those who believe in paying union wages. I think the workmen of this country are well able to take care of themselves in that respect, but this resolution would say to a man who is not competent: You cannot lose your job; you must be paid the standard wage paid for competent workmen even though you are incompetent. That is entirely within the terms of this resolution and it is an absolute absurdity. No man will do that; no union insists upon that. This to my mind is simply a piece of flim-flam, probably for the constituents of my hon. friend. If he wants to do something for labour surely he can find some better means than the placing of a futile resolution of this character on the order paper. Neither this nor any

Exploitation of Labour

other parliament can force the carrying out of such a resolution. If a man does not want to employ one who he thinks is not competent, he does not employ him and there is no power in this parliament to compel him to employ him. It would be absurd if parliament should have such a power. While I am in sympathy with paying reasonable wages to men who work, and with preventing anything in the shape of coercion upon them, as one who appreciates the principles of trade unionism, I could not support a resolution like this.

Topic:   EXPLOITATION OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   INDUSTRIAL FREEDOM OF CONTRACT AND ACTION
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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. A. W. NEILL (Comox-Alberni):

Mr. Speaker, I have pleasure in accepting the suggestion of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and with the consent of my seconder, I would delete the two words "or conscription" in the fourth line. That I think will meet all the major objections which have been raised against this resolution.

As regards the remarks of the leader of the opposition (Mr. Meighen), his legal mind immediately flies to the legal aspect of the matter. I am sorry he did not see something a little beyond that, and I am particularly sorry he ended his remarks with the suggestion that it would possibly enure to the individual advantage of some member. I do not think that suggestion is worthy of him or worthy of myself. I should like to see him rise to a height above the legal point of view-I am quite aware that this House at this present moment cannot legislate in this matter over the provinces; but there is such a thing, despise it as we may or ignore it as we like, as public sentiment, and when this House of parliament, which is the highest court of appeal, so to speak, in Canada, expresses itself such and so, it is liable to have a considerable effect on the legislatures and lion, members composing the governments of the different provinces. Public sentiment is an intangible invisible thing, but it is a very vital thing in many respects, and I was asking from the moral point of view only the support, the endorsation, of this House, expressing its opinion that such a thing is not desirable-that and no more.

The leader of the opposition cited a case of provinces passing what I suppose he might call political resolutions in order to give themselves credit in the province, or perhaps to embarrass the government at Ottawa that happened to be of an opposite political complexion. But it is on record that British Columbia, the province with which I am most familiar, has passed resolutions notably on the Asiatic question, urging this government,

which was of the same political colour as itself, to take steps towards restriction regardless of whether such action would embarrass the government at Ottawa or not. Having been challenged ito cite a case of its ever having been effected, I would like to cite that same case of Chinese exclusion. Beginning with the Chinese and going on with the Japanese, British Columbia has been fighting for twenty years passing resolutions regardless olf whether they embarrassed its friends here or not. It was rightly considered that when those provincial members unanimously passed a resolution of that character, they represented the concrete consensus of public sentiment in British Columbia, and it was so regarded here. In course of time this led to a poll tax of one hundred dollars being imposed by Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Sentiment Still continued to be expressed that that was not sufficient or effective, and this led to a poll tax of five hundred dollars being imposed. Time went on and these representations continued to be poured in. It did not matter whether it was the parish council or the city council or the legislature; they were the units and they sent resolutions to Ottawa in order to focus the attention of politicians here on what was needed in British Columbia. This led to the "gentleman's agreement."

Topic:   EXPLOITATION OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   INDUSTRIAL FREEDOM OF CONTRACT AND ACTION
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Does the hon. member

not see a very great distinction between the representation of a local viewpoint on a matter within our jurisdiction, and the passing of a resolution on a general principle, on a matter wholly, within the juridiction of others?

Topic:   EXPLOITATION OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   INDUSTRIAL FREEDOM OF CONTRACT AND ACTION
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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

The point is well taken, but

it is taken as against my right hon. friend^ because it was he who introduced the illustration of legislatures passing resolutions.

Topic:   EXPLOITATION OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   INDUSTRIAL FREEDOM OF CONTRACT AND ACTION
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

On the tariff. That is

wholly different from passing a resolution on a local condition such as Chinese immigration.

Topic:   EXPLOITATION OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   INDUSTRIAL FREEDOM OF CONTRACT AND ACTION
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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

Is the tariff not a local condition? *

Topic:   EXPLOITATION OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   INDUSTRIAL FREEDOM OF CONTRACT AND ACTION
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Not at all-Dominion.

Topic:   EXPLOITATION OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   INDUSTRIAL FREEDOM OF CONTRACT AND ACTION
Permalink
IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

A tariff often is an extremely local condition in some respects. As regards the other members who spoke, most of them, so far as I could make out, came from the city of Toronto, and most of them appeared to be hampered by the fact that they had not heard my opening remarks, because nearly every one of them challenged me to cite a case where such a condition existed. I did cite such a case. It is the law of British Columbia that a man can be conscripted to

Marking of Eggs

go out and fight fires at twenty-five cents an hour, or any less wage they like to give. It is that feature of the matter to which I object. An hon. member referred to the particular cage of a man being called out to fight fires for the sake of saving life, and haggling about the pay before he would start. The hon. member for East Algoma (Mr. Nicholson) need not worry about conditions like that. Canadians do not do those things; when the case is one of saving life, they will not haggle, they will go out even if they have to work for nothing. This is not a case like that; it is a case, as one hon. member opposite said, of saving thousands or millions of dollars worth of property by prompt action. If it is going to save some lumber companies millions of dollars in timber, surely they can afford to pay the standard wage to those doing it. But that is a very different thing from the question of human life being endangered. The hon. member for East Algoma (Mr. Nicholson) said there was nothing like conscription in Ontario. He went on to say that there was conscription, but that the conscripts were paid what they were worth. Is there not such a thing as conscription in the sweatshops of Toronto? I think the hon. member will find there is a worse kind of conscription, economic conscription, there. He says that in fighting fires men can be compelled to go, but they must be paid what they are worth. More power to him and more power to Ontario; I only want the hon. member to say that Ontario is right and British Columbia is wrong. Let us say, academic though it may be, that it is not right to do so and so, that something else should be done. One of the hon. members for Toronto challenged the Premier to say whether or not he would bring in a bill if this resolution passed. We all know that that cannot be done, but let us try moral suasion, and if that fails perhaps by cooperation with the provinces, when they have been educated to it, it will be possible to bring in a bill of that kind. I ask the House to remember that it is not altogether this particular thing which we must face, but what it may lead up to, and I particularly suggest that the Labour members should consider that. If it is right and legal to force a man to put out a bush fire which is not within fifty miles of a town and which is not endangering the life of anyone except himself, then when we need anything else people may be forced to supply the labour at a wage which the government will establish. There is a danger there, and it is that danger against which I want to' guard. One hon. member opposite said in his second sentence that he thought the resolution was all wrong, and in his first sentence he explained

why he thought it was all wrong, when he said he had not read it. Perhaps if he will read it with a little care he will not have the same contempt for it. Perhaps his mind is not able to readily assimilate a resolution of this kind without some study. The hon. member also wanted to know who had drawn it up. If he wishes the services of the gentleman who did it, I will be happy to furnish him with the name privately. With the consent of my seconder, I agree that the two words "or conscription" be deleted from the resolution.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

Topic:   EXPLOITATION OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   INDUSTRIAL FREEDOM OF CONTRACT AND ACTION
Permalink

MARKING OF EGGS

PROPOSED APPLICATION TO DOMINION OF BRITISH COLUMBIA ACT

IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. A. W. NEILL (Comox-Alberni) moved:

That, in the opinion of this House, it is desirable that the Eggs Marks Act of British Columbia should be made applicable to the Dominion of Canada as a whole.

He said: Mr. Speaker, I am sure this resolution is in every respect the antithesis of the one we have just considered. It is short; it is simple; it is within our jurisdiction, and I think it will be acceptable to ever}rone. I might briefly explain how the need arises. There has been a continual feeling in British Columbia and no doubt in Ontario as well that the poultry farmers are not getting a square deal, owing to the importation] of American eggs. That leads one to the suggestion that there should be an increased duty on American eggs. As that is not the basis of this resolution, I am just alluding to it in passing.

Some months ago there was a meeting held at a place called Duncan in the riding of the hon. member for Nanaimo (Mr. Dickie), which was attended by representatives of practically all the poultrymen of British Columbia. I may explain that the poultry industry in British Columbia is entirely different to that of any other province, inasmuch as it is a specialized business. There it is not a .case of having a few hens running around the farm machinery, nor is it a case where you can say to a man, "Eggs are not selling well; you had better go in for cows." You cannot do that when you have only five acres of land absolutely unsuited for anything else. Consequently they go in for specialized hen farms, with five or ten acres of land on which they keep from two to five thousand hens. It is useless to say to them that they should grow cucumbers or raise pigs, because the land is unsuited to that. At this meeting a number of resolutions were passed1; one asked for an increased duty on eggs coming from the United

Marking oj Eggs

States; another asked that there 'be no material change in, the egg grading regulations; a third resolution dealt with Australian eggs, and1 asked that they be not allowed to come in under the definition of "fresh", while the last, resolution was that which I just read. They asked that the Eggs Marks Act of British Columbia be made applicable to the Dominion as a, whole.

I may explain briefly what the act is. It was passed in 1923, and I need not quote it; in effect it states that every imported egg sold in British Columbia or offered for sale Shall have the country of origin stamped on each individual egg. That is, there must be a stamp stating that it comes from the country of origin. An egg from the United States would1 be marked "U.S."; an egg from China would be marked "China". That act was introduced three years ago, and I am advised that it has been exceedingly successful.

Topic:   MARKING OF EGGS
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPLICATION TO DOMINION OF BRITISH COLUMBIA ACT
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CON

Donald Sutherland

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND (South Oxford):

Might I ask my hon. friend if that applies to all countries, or only to China?

Topic:   MARKING OF EGGS
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPLICATION TO DOMINION OF BRITISH COLUMBIA ACT
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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

The section is as follows:

Every egg dealer who keeps or has in his possession or under his control any eggs which have been imported into the Dominion, and which have not been marked, shall mark each egg with the words "Produce of", followed by the name of the country of origin of the egg.

It applies to every country outside of Canada. The result is, as I am advised by this association, that it has 'been of great assistance in preventing the importation of foreign eggs. Further, I am advised by the association as follows:

It is a well known fact in the business that the consumer is suspicious of a marked egg. About fifteen years ago this association placed its eggs on the market with a special stamp giving the name of the association and the producer's number, but it was found that occasionally a retail grocer would carry eggs in stock thus marked for some wreeks and some consumer would purchase a dozen of these stale eggs and forever forswear anything with the Cowichan Creamery stamp on it. We know of one firm of distributors in Vancouver that made an attempt to bring marked eggs before the public, and for the same reason gave up in disgust.

The idea, of course, is that a man might import perfectly fresh eggs from the United States ; he might put them at the back of the bin and put eggs received later in front, and in that way the eggs first received might become more or less stale. Then when a consumer buys an egg marked " U.S. " or whatever it might be and does not like it. he tells his wife not to buy any more of that kind. Then there is another idea, that when an egg is marked as being from a foreign country, the suggestion is that it might possibly not

be fresh, coming from that distance. People do not stop to consider whether "US." means the state of Washington or the state of California. Also, it is possible that some vague spirit of patriotism stirs the man at his breakfast and he says to his wife, " Get local eggs if you can; I see these are imported."

Ml-. EDWARDS (Frontenac): Is the marking to be done by the dealer? [DOT]

Topic:   MARKING OF EGGS
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPLICATION TO DOMINION OF BRITISH COLUMBIA ACT
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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

He can buy them marked

if he likes, or he can mark them, but he must not expose them for sale unmarked.

Topic:   MARKING OF EGGS
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPLICATION TO DOMINION OF BRITISH COLUMBIA ACT
Permalink
CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS (Frontenac):

If they

come in from the 'United States they are unmarked.

Topic:   MARKING OF EGGS
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPLICATION TO DOMINION OF BRITISH COLUMBIA ACT
Permalink
IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

They might or might not bo marked.

Topic:   MARKING OF EGGS
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPLICATION TO DOMINION OF BRITISH COLUMBIA ACT
Permalink
CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS (Frontenac):

There is no law in the United States compelling the marking of eggs, so I presume they would come in from there unmarked.

Topic:   MARKING OF EGGS
Subtopic:   PROPOSED APPLICATION TO DOMINION OF BRITISH COLUMBIA ACT
Permalink

March 18, 1926