February 19, 1935

LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

If trade unionism was giving strike pay to some of its members, would the members so drawing strike pay be regarded as financing a dispute?

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

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

They would be out of

the employment under those circumstances, would they not? If they are drawing strike pay they would have to be dissociated from the industry; therefore they would not be receiving pay because they were absent for a cause that does not come within the conditions of the act. Is that not the principle on which they act in England?

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

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

Let me read a paragraph from one of the standard books on the act. It says:

Further relief is given by the acts in that the disqualification does not apply if the claimant can prove both of the following:

Unemployment Insurance

(1) that he is not himself participating in or financing or directly interested in the trade dispute which caused the stoppage of work; and

(2) that the persons who are so participating in or financing or directly interested in the trade dispute do not include any members of his own grade or class who immediately before the stoppage of work were employed at the premises at which the stoppage is taking place. An attitude of sympathy or benevolent neutrality does not amount to participation; but a person who by ceasing work or in some other way actively supports the cause of the disputants is "participating." If a trade union is paying "strike pay" to disputants, every member who ordinarily subscribes to its funds is regarded as financing the dispute; moreover, the members of a trade union are financing a dispute if the union contributes to the funds of a federation which is paying "strike pay."

It seems to me, with all respect to the observations of the Prime Minister, that there is a good deal in what the hon. member for Bow River says. Although this has been in the British act for some time, it seems to me to be a very drastic section. It certainly interferes substantially with the rights of labour in trade disputes, and to my mind amounts to an inferential conscription of labour. We should not, of course, discuss this in the language of extremism, but notwithstanding the fact that the provision is in the British act, if the correct interpretation is that given by the authority I have just quoted it certainly is going very far.

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

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

Do I understand from the Prime Minister that this particular provision came into the British act as a result of an amendment in 1934?

Mr. BENNETT; No. Section 21 in the first instance is from the British act of 1920, section 8, and section 6 of the British act of 1927. I refer hon. gentlemen also to the evidence taken before the royal commission at page 1200. As to subparagraph (ii)-"and where separate branches of work," etc.-that comes from the act of 1920, section 8. Then we come to (b) on the same page, which comes from the British acts of 1930 and 1934. The hon. member for Comox-Albemi asked with respect to the exact language. There is some little change in the language to make it conform to the conditions of this country, but as the hon. gentleman has heard it read by the hon. member for Vancouver Centre I think he will agree that it is substantially a statement of the section.

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

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I was just wondering if this was not inserted after the general strike in Great Britain. The Prime Minister and many hon. members will recall that ever since the general strike, either when the Conservative

party was in power or since the national government has come into power, there has been a distinct tendency to try to take away from trades unions some of the power and authority which they formerly exercised. Legislation has been introduced to prevent them from using their union funds for electoral purposes or for the purpose of electing members to parliament. I suggest, although I have not all the facts before me, that in all probability this clause with respect to participation in or financing of trade disputes was inserted in order to prevent any recurrence of a general strike in Great Britain. If that is so I submit that conditions here are not at all similar and that we do not require any such provision in our act.

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

Angus MacInnis

Independent Labour

Mr. MacINNIS:

The further the great reform program advances the less we find there is in it. Now we find that we are not going any further than the Conservative government in Great Britain has gone in regard to unemployment insurance. Regardless of whether or not they call it a national government nothing can hide the fact that it is a Conservative government, dominated by the capitalist class of Great Britain. The capitalist class of Great Britain are no more inclined to be generous with their workers than the capitalist class of any other country. The working class of Great Britain have through the years built up organizations to protect themselves or to minimize to some extent their exploitation. In this section there are very drastic possibilities. I am quite convinced that it could be used in the manner I suggested. Trade unions do help each other in times of strikes. Let us say the moulders' union is on strike; then the carpenters' union may through a levy on their members contribute to that strike. Under this section, just because of that contribution, an unemployed carpenter would be debarred from receiving the benefits of the act. Possibly that would not take place; it would depend largely upon the administration of the act, nevertheless the provision is here and it can be used if it ever becomes necessary to do so.

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

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The observations made

by the hon. member for Quebec South (Mr. Power) can hardly be supported. Section 8 of the act of 1920, which of course was passed prior to the general strike, if my memory serves me correctly, reads:

An insured' contributor who has lost employment by reason of stoppage of work which was due to a trade dispute at the factory, workshop or other premises at which he was employed shall (be disqualified for receiving unemployment benefit so long as the stoppage of work.

Unemployment Insurance

continues, except in a case where he has, during the stoppage of work, become bona fide employed elsewhere in the occupation which he usually follows or has become regularly engaged in some other occupation.

The annotator writes:

Apparently if a workman during a stoppage gets other employment he rids himself of the disqualification. If he then becomes unemployed, provided the unemployment does not arise out of a trade dispute, he is entitled to benefit.

That the insurance officer may himself disallow claims for benefit under this subsection, see act of 1930, s. 8 (3) post. As to payment of benefit where claimant not disqualified under this subsection, notwithstanding appeal to umpire pending, see act of 1930, s. 8 (9) post.

Then he proceeds to give the explanations, largely in the sense of the remarks of the hon. member for Vancouver Centre. I cannot think there is anything in that section as originally provided that had reference to the general strike, nor do I think it fair to suggest that the act of 1934, which retained and amplified the provisions of the act of 1920 as I have indicated, to make it perfectly clear that the exceptions could be given effect to, can be regarded as an effort of the capitalist class to fasten certain restrictive provisions upon the employees.

I agree with what has been said as to the hovels in which people have been living; it is one of the most regrettable things in a new country like this that this should be so, and the committee appointed the other day proposes to consider certain phases of that question. I do know employers who have expended much time, effort and money in attempting to make conditions for their employees as excellent as possible. Sometimes they have not been even thanked for it, and in many cases the rewards which have been received by labour have been far in excess of any returns received on the capital that has been invested. I know of that in many cases. I know of one very large industry in this country, the directors of which take a very personal interest in all these social problems and endeavour to make living conditions and wages such as to ensure the happiness and comfort not only of the employees but of their families as well. The fact that regrettable conditions have grown up under the capitalist system merely indicates that the collective power of the state has not been awake as it should have been for the purpose of preventing them. Now that they are here it is the duty of the state to do what it can to remedy these abuses. In England it was thought-perhaps improperly, according to 92582-631

what has been said in some quarters-that an unemployment insurance scheme was a means towards that end. It was believed that this was so. All I can say is that the workers in Great Britain attach very great value to it; I think that is a fair way to put it. I believe that is not an exaggeration, that they attach the very greatest value to it. In continental Europe that is also true, as well as in other parts of the world where they are now discussing this question in all its phases. I refer to the discussions now taking place in the United States, notably in the state of Wisconsin, as to how it might be dealt with This act admittedly is fashioned on the British act-

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

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

Part I of the act.

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

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Yes; I should say the British act before 1934. The reason for that is obvious; in fact there are two main reasons. One is that they are, shall I say, people who are quite as much interested in the successful operation of a statute of this kind as we are, and therefore they have an outlook similar to our own with respect to the provisions of such a measure. The second reason is the fact that it is of the very greatest value to a new country to have the decisions of courts of the highest competence as to the interpretation to be placed upon the language of the statute. When we can have the language of our statutes construed in the light of expressions of opinion by judicial bodies in Great Britain, we having used the same words that are found in the (British statute, it becomes of incalculable value to those charged with administration. I am frank in saying that this section 21, with which we are now dealing, is substantially word for word as it is in the British act, except that there are modifications as between commission and ministry of labour. I can add nothing further to what has been said with respect to that, but I do suggest that it is desirable to have some such provision as this even if we merely base it upon the single instance to which reference was made last evening by the hon. member for Vancouver-Burrard, and of which I think the government that has had the responsibility for maintaining a certain measure of peace, order and good government had a very intimate knowledge. Putting it on that ground alone I think it is very desirable to have that section, for remember the section does not prohibit; it only conditionally says the insured shall lose his benefit, but if he desires to do so he can place himself right by coming within

Unemployment Insurance

the exception named here, and I think it can be fairly said that in most cases he would come within that exception.

The hon. member for Bow River asked why he should not be permitted to strike. Only a short time ago I was reading that the most enlightened and advanced labour leaders in both the United States and Great Britain are agreed that in the long run a strike is the most costly and ineffective method to apply for the purpose of solving difficulties of this kind. The practice of referring to arbitration trade disputes and matters of that kind has grown to such proportions that in the main it may be said that Strikes are becoming fewer and fewer. There are no great national strikes in this country such as we once knew. It may be said that this is because of the depression, but that is also true in the United States. There have been small expressions of disapproval which have resulted in men walking out and staying out for a time, until they bargained with the management, but in the main I think it is fair to say that antagonisms between employers and employees have become fewer and fewer, because we have the workmen's compensation acts, old age pensions and unemployment insurance provisions. Men are very anxious to maintain their rights and privileges, and long ago they saw that the most costly and expensive method of settling disputes was to refrain from earning more money for themselves and their families, while the easiest way to settle them was to rely on the common sense, fair judgment and, usually, the support of an enlightened public opinion, which you will find generally not on that side necessarily which has the might or the capital but on that side which commends itself most to the fair judgment of the people of the country. That creates public opinion.

Paragraph (b) agreed to.

On paragraph (c)-Loss of work due to misconduct.

Mr: NEILL: I raised a question previously, and I was told to wait until we reached this section. I should like to revert back to paragraph (b), which contains the words, " if on a claim for benefit." There you have the case of a man who has qualified, after making his payments. He comes along and asks for a benefit, but under paragraph (e), on page 14, he will not get it if he is in receipt of an old age pension.

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

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

That is the section.

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

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

At page 32 of the bill, in part II of the schedule, under "excepted employments," we find the words:

Employment otherwise than by way of manual labour and at a rate of remuneration exceeding in value $2,000.

That mian cannot come under the operation of the measure, but $2,000 per year is a great deal more than $240. This is not a dole; this is an insurance scheme for which a man has made a stated number of payments, and he comes up to claim a benefit which it seems to me is provided by the act. Why should he be cut out because he is getting only $15 or $20 a month.

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

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The hon. member has

perhaps overlooked the fact that it is not probable he would be employed if he were in receipt of an old age pension. In order to receive such a pension he would have to negative the condition of employment. It is perfectly clear no one in receipt of an old age pension would be employed.

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

Wilfred Hanbury

Liberal

Mr. HANBURY:

No, or he would not

be receiving an old age pension.

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

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

He might have some technical ability for which he had been given temporary employment.

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

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Then he would forfeit

his old age pension.

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

Wilfred Hanbury

Liberal

Mr. HANBURY:

The hon. member has

just referred to subsection (e), and that is why I have risen to speak. In many of the provinces we have workmen's compensation acts, and I cannot see in this measure any provision whereby an employee receiving workmen's compensation is to be exempted, although we do exempt a person receiving an old age pension.

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

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

There are two ot three

reasons I could mention if I were to turn up the section. The distinction between workmen's compensation acts and the Old Age Pensions Act is, of course, very well known to the hon. member. Workmen's compensation is paid by the employers only into a fund, and the payments create a fund out of which an injured workman is entitled to receive benefits, instead of going to court and obtaining a judgment. The reason he is not exempted in this measure is that if he went to court, received a judgment and had payments made to him he would still be in a

Unemployment Insurance

position to receive his benefits under the unemployment insurance scheme. On the other hand, with respect to old age pensions as the law now stands he is practically bereft of assets before he has the opportunity to "receive the benefits of such pension. That is the distinction between the two.

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

Wilfred Hanbury

Liberal

Mr. HANBURY:

Do I understand the

Prime Minister to say that a workman receiving compensation under a workmen's compensation act would be entitled also to receive insurance under this bill?

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

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I have no doubt about

that. Notwithstanding the fact that he may have received benefits under a workmen's compensation act, if he has been employed and has paid forty contributions in two years before becoming unemployed, and is capable of and available for work and unable to find employment, the fact that he had received money for an injury which he had sustained would not deprive him of his right to benefit any more than tihe fact that he had saved $1,000 and had it to his credit in a savings bank would so deprive him. That is the construction placed upon it in the English courts.

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

Wilfred Hanbury

Liberal

Mr. HANBURY:

If that is the interpretation I believe further consideration should be given the point. I shall not say it is a matter of common practice, but il will say we have known cases where men would deliberately maim themselves in order to take advantage of the workmen's compensation act. If at the same time they would be able to draw insurance under this measure we would be putting a premium on actions of that kind. I do not think it was ever intended that industry in Canada, which is certainly providing a portion of the funds from which insurance payments will be made, and is providing all the funds from which workmen's compensation is paid, should ever be placed in that position. I suggest the Prime Minister should take this matter into consideration, and ascertain whether some provision could not be made to take care of the condition 1 have described.

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

February 19, 1935