February 19, 1935

LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

Why should it be someone

employed by the commission?

Mr. NELLiL: I call the attention of the

Prime Minister to paragraph (e). We are dealing with claims for benefits. A man thinks he is entitled and asks for benefit, but under paragraph (e) he will not get it if he is in receipt of a pension under the Old Age Pensions Act.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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CON

Armand Renaud La Vergne (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

The CHAIRMAN:

We are not yet dealing with that paragraph.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

With reference to the

question asked by my hon. friend from Quebec South, the equivalent section is section 4 of the British act of 1930. The amendment as to disqualifications for receipt of benefit reads:

If on a claim for benefit it is proved' by an officer of the ministry of labour that the claimant, after a situation in any employment which is suitable in his case has been notified to him by an employment exchange or other recognized agency-

And so on. The provision in this bill is taken from that. There is no note indicating why the word "officer" is used in the British act. and I confess I know of no particular reason except that what appears in this bill has been taken from that act.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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LAB

Humphrey Mitchell

Labour

Mr. MITCHELL:

H I may be allowed to refer back to paragraph (a), subparagraph (i), what is the meaning of these words:

That he is not participating in, or financing or directly interested in the trade dispute. . . .

I can understand it as it affects an employee of the particular concern. But suppose he were an employee of another firm altogether, were out of work, and took part in the strike; would that debar him from the benefits of the act?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

That was the matter tc which the hon. member for Quebec South directed attention a moment ago, and I said that the statement made last evening by the hon. member for Vancouver-Burrard gave some excellent reasons why such a provision should be inserted. It merely refers to an employee who is in fact an employee but who in reality is working to promote the destruction of employment; he shall not be able to take advantage of it. That is all it means. In view of what we know of in one or two instances in this country it is an admirable provision.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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IND

Angus MacInnis

Independent Labour

Mr. MacINNIS:

This section is rather far-reaching. We know that in the matter of defence certain trades help out others at a time of a strike or a lockout. If there is a strike or a lockout and a person who is participating in this unemployment insurance is a member of another trade which, through contributions form the union, is supporting the strike or lockout, would that person be debarred from the benefits of the act?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I think not. This is a combination of two sections from two amendments to the British act, section 4 of act IRo. 2 of 1924-the act was amended twice that year-and the other act to which I have referred. It is provided that the act:

-shall not apply in any case in which the insured contributor proves that he is not participating in or financing or directly interested in the trade dispute which caused the stoppage of work, and that he does not belong to a grade or class of workers members of which are participating in or financing or directly interested in the dispute. . . .

That was subsequently added to by the act of 1927 in section 6, which is not a long one but which merely clears up any possible difficulty there might be with respect to the original amendment of 1924. The section as amended in the English act of 1927 reads as follows:

Subsection (1) of section 4 of the Unemployment Insurance (No. 2) Act, 1924, shall have effect as if there were substituted for the words "members of which" the words "of which immediately before the commencement of the stoppage there -were members employed at the

Unemployment Insurance

premises at which the stoppage is taking place any of whom," and as if all the words after "in the dispute" were omitted.

The sense of it is merely to make it clear that because a man has been a member of an organization that is interested in this stoppage, he shall not thereby sacrifice or forfeit his rights, if he proves "that he is not participating in, or financing or directly interested in the trade dispute which caused the stoppage of work, and that he does not belong to a grade or class of workers of which immediately before the commencement of the stoppage there were members employed at the premises at which the stoppage is taking place any of whom are participating in or financing or directly interested in the dispute." That was the provision in the English act of 1927. Subsection (i) stands as it was in 1924 and subsection (ii) comes from the act of 1927, being section 6. I think it is a fair provision and it will be found that in practice it has been.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

Would this prevent any person coming under the benefits of the act from participating in a strike or assisting those who were on strike? Under this clause would he be debarred from assisting either directly or indirectly an organization the membership of which was either locked out or was out on strike?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The clause with which we are now dealing is one in which there is a prohibition with an exception. The prohibition against benefits is modified by the exception which says that the applicant is still entitled to the benefits if he is not participating in or financing or directly interested in the trade dispute itself; and in the second place, if he does not belong to a grade or class of workers of which immediately before the commencement of the stoppage there were members employed at the premises at which this stoppage is taking place. So I do not see just how the question as put would touch this. This is the case of a worker who under the act would come within the prohibition, but in order that the act might be construed in his benefit there are in the clause two provisions which enable him still to receive his benefit. The first is his, shall I say, non-participation in the dispute, and second, his position with respect to a class of employment in the factory or industry in which he may be engaged.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

I can only say that I regard this clause as one of the most ruthless provisions in the whole bill so far as the working people are concerned. Some hon. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

My hon. friends laugh rather hollowly when I say that. I wonder why they laugh when they must realize that it has taken the working class generations to build up an understanding in the minds of employers possibly like themselves, that they are entitled to some opportunities to work for better conditions in their industries for themselves as well as for those who are their fellow workers. The first part of the clause reads:

An insured contributor shall be disqualified for receiving unemployment benefit-

(a) if he has lost his employment by reason of a stoppage of work, which was due to a trade dispute at the factory, workshop or other premises at which he was employed.

Supposing, as very often has happened, the employer himself has 'been guilty of a breach of agreement as between himself and his employees under a trade union agreement; does this mean that that class of people who strike against a breach of agreement on the part of an employer are at once to be disqualified from participation in the benefits under the bill? If so, the bill is a deliberate attempt to destroy the effectiveness of labour organizations in this country. Further, if he participates in, finances or is directly interested in a trade dispute which has caused a stoppage of work, he is to be outlawed. It will be noted that under the subclause of this clause he does not have to be actually in the ranks of the strikers. As the hon. member for Vancouver South suggests, he may belong to another organization altogether, but he may be sympathizing with and assisting those people. I have known for example groups of workers in one union in this country assist another group in another union when they were out on strike. I have in mind some of the strikes in the maritime provinces in connection with the coal industry. There will be more strikes in that industry because conditions in it, both east and west, are positively appalling. Until people go and see the hovels in which these coal miners live, the unsanitary conditions under which they exist and the miserable pittance upon which they live, they will never understand the reasons for what I am now telling the committee. A clause like this disallows not only those men but any others who are endeavouring to do what Britons will always desire to do, that is fight for decent conditions and justice. I think the clause is an appalling one, especially if it is ruthlessly enforced.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

Read the next clause.

Unemployment Insurance

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

The next one is just as bad. The Prime Minister, in his quite intelligent analysis over the radio of the prevailing system in this country, has fully justified what I am going to say. He must know just as well as I do that so long as capitalism exists, it will require more than mere regulations by law to compel employers to do justice to their employees. There are exceptions to the rule in all industries. There are some employers who understand the conditions of the workers and who are willing to make mild sacrifices on their behalf; but in the mass there is on the part of the employers nothing 'but callousness and ignorance of the rights of working people. To insert a clause like this, which has the effect not only of intimidation but of causing these men and their colleagues in other industries to resist in every way even the striving for better conditions, is in my opinion a violation of British justice. I do not like the clause at all.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

In listening to the language of the hon. gentleman one would think his solicitude for those who are unfortunate was born of wide and vast experience.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

He heard Tim Buck speaking last night.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

That explains the situation.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

No, he was here with the hon. gentleman wrestling over this bill.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I find the parliament of Great Britain, under governments referred to as socialist or labour and known as national, in the statute of 1934 to which I referred and from which I read, making provision with respect to this very matter. Is there any country in the world in which trade unionism is as powerful as it is in the British Isles? This section having been passed into law by the parliament of Great Britain as long ago as 1920-part of it, and modified and put into its present form in 1934-is it fair to call it ruthless? Is it fair to say that this is an endeavour on the part of capitalists to grind down and destroy their workmen? I do not think it is. I am one who believes that there are many defects in the capitalistic system. I believe that in the main it has functioned very well and that the world owes much of its progress to its functioning as it has. Any system that has lasted for as many thousands of years as has the capitalist system must necessarily have become encumbered with abuses, and some of them it is B2582-63

our duty to endeavour to remove. But a denunciation in wholesale terms of a section of an act that has run the gamut of the parliament of Great Britain, where I think we may say trade unionism has manifested itself as strongly as in any other part of the world, is not in my judgment a fair criticism. In the adoption of this clause from the British act one was following what one regards as a safe precedent. If hon. members of the committee will look at the section they will see that while in the first instance it contemplates the loss of benefits, it also provides, that if the individual concerned does not come within that provision he shall suffer no inconvenience by it. That is the provision, and that is made as fair as it is possible to make it, I think, having regard to the very conditions they had to meet in England. It was proven that in some industries absolute destruction was brought about with great deliberation, not attributable in any sense, as far as could1 be traced, to the general attitude of mind of the British workers. We know that in this country there have been instances-I do not say they are numerous-in which somewhat similar conditions have obtained. It is to prevent that that the provision was made in England; it is to prevent that that the provision is made here. I cannot think it is going to work a hardship if we adopt a provision that as late as 1934 was crystallized in the legislation of the United Kingdom.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

Is this a copy of the provision in the British act?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Not word for word. I will read it if the hon. gentleman desires.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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February 19, 1935