On the orders of the day:
Mr. 0. B. ELLIOTT (Kindersley): Before the orders of the day are called I should like to ask the Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers) if he is prepared to make a statement with regard to the dispute between the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Canadian National Railways and their employees.
Hon. NORMAN McL. ROGERS (Minister of Labour): The hon. member for Kindersley (Mr. Elliott) was kind enough to give me notice of his intention to ask this question. The procedure followed under the Industrial Disputes Investigation Act in dealing with reports made by boards of conciliation has been to send to both parties to the dispute copies of the report and ask them to state whether or not they are willing to accept the recommendation of the board. This was done in the present instance. A reply was received from the representatives of the employees advising the department that the report was not acceptable, and further stating that a strike ballot was being prepared for submission to the employees. This reply from the employees was immediately communicated to the presidents of the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Railways. On February 4 Sir Edward Beatty and Mr. Hungerford acknowledged receipt of the report of the board of conciliation and indicated their attitude toward it in the following paragraph:
The railways are prepared to accept the recommendation of the board as a basis for an agreement between the railways and the employees for the adjustment of the dispute.
The railways in the conciliation conferences having offered, as stated in the board's report, to reduce the rate of deduction from compensation from 10 per cent to 9 per cent as from February 1, 1937, they will immediately take the necessary steps to put into effect that part of the board's recommendation.
I may say that I have had informal discussions with representatives of both parties to the dispute, since the conciliation board made its report. I cannot usefully add anything further to this statement at the present time, except to say that we are keeping in constant touch with the situation.