April 21, 1939

LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

That is a provincial matter, although some two years ago there was drawn up at Geneva an international convention which we have not yet ratified, nor has Great Britain. We are studying it, but its ratification would mean drastic readjustments.

Topic:   REFERENCE OF ITEMS IN ESTIMATES TO COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRANSPORT
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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacNEIL:

I had representations from organizations of seamen on the Pacific coast, representing particularly men employed on tugs and barges who have to work exceedingly long hours and get very little consideration from their employers. To what authority should they apply to have certain matters rectified? I am informed that on occasion they applied to the federal department and were told that it was a provincial matter; then they applied to the provincial authority and were told that it was a matter for the federal government to deal with under the shipping act. I would ask the minister to what authority I might refer them for settlement of their difficulties.

Topic:   REFERENCE OF ITEMS IN ESTIMATES TO COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRANSPORT
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Any grievance of men on tugs or barges would obviously foe a provincial matter.

Topic:   REFERENCE OF ITEMS IN ESTIMATES TO COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRANSPORT
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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacNEIL:

They operate in coastal waters.

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Topic:   REFERENCE OF ITEMS IN ESTIMATES TO COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRANSPORT
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

But within the boundaries of British Columbia. The only seamen whose wages would be covered by international agreement would be seamen on deep-sea vessels. As I understand the situation, even if we ratify the Geneva convention, it might not affect the type of vessel to which my hon. friend refers.

Topic:   REFERENCE OF ITEMS IN ESTIMATES TO COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRANSPORT
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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

Has this vote also to do with the inspection of the Plimsoll line and markings on the ship as to draft and so forth?

Topic:   REFERENCE OF ITEMS IN ESTIMATES TO COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRANSPORT
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Yes, it covers all inspectional work under the Canada Shipping Act, including load-lines.

Topic:   REFERENCE OF ITEMS IN ESTIMATES TO COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRANSPORT
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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacNEIL:

I was referring to vessels which are subject to inspection by the department, and the masters and mates of which must secure certificates to operate in coastal waters. I am referring not to minor waters but to coastal waters. These boats often put out to sea and ply back and forth between coastal points. The organization of these men has been informed that their difficulties are strictly a federal matter because these boats are subject to inspection by the federal department.

Topic:   REFERENCE OF ITEMS IN ESTIMATES TO COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRANSPORT
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

My deputy informs me that there is nothing in the Canada Shipping Act with respect to wages. We issue certificates, of course, as to the competency of the officers.

Topic:   REFERENCE OF ITEMS IN ESTIMATES TO COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRANSPORT
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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacNEIL:

But there is nothing as to hours of work?

Topic:   REFERENCE OF ITEMS IN ESTIMATES TO COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRANSPORT
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

No.

Topic:   REFERENCE OF ITEMS IN ESTIMATES TO COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRANSPORT
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LIB

Daniel (Dan) McIvor

Liberal

Mr. McIVOR:

I should like to bring to the attention of the minister what two captains at the head of the lakes give me as authentic information, namely, that they are much pleased at the great improvement which has been made through the installation of radio and life-saving apparatus for the protection of life on the larger and smaller boats coming into the ports at the head of the lakes. I just want to sound this note as the other side to what we have been hearing here, something in praise of the efficient work the minister has 'done for the protection of life on the boats at the head of the lakes.

Topic:   REFERENCE OF ITEMS IN ESTIMATES TO COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRANSPORT
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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

Does that come under this item, Mr. Chairman? The item deals with safety of life at sea.

Topic:   REFERENCE OF ITEMS IN ESTIMATES TO COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRANSPORT
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CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacINNIS:

I have received communications along the same line as those received by the hon. member for Vancouver North with respect to hours of labour and working conditions of the men on the boats on the Pacific. I think the chief complaint is with regard to the hours of work. The contention is that

sailors in Canada have longer hours of work than sailors in almost any other country that has a considerable marine service. From all the information I have been able to gather, Great Britain and the United States have an eight-hour day for sailors. I think it is time not only for us to ratify the Geneva convention which the minister mentioned, and in other years I have asked him several questions in regard to that convention, but we should have legislation putting the eight-hour day into effect for seamen. No class of people works under worse conditions than the seamen on board our ships, especially the ships plying along the coast.

Topic:   REFERENCE OF ITEMS IN ESTIMATES TO COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRANSPORT
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

My hon. friend is well aware that wages and working conditions right across Canada come within provincial jurisdiction. The federal government has no control over these matters. But with respect to seamen outside provincial jurisdiction the international labour office has approved a convention which would apply to all countries ratifying it. The Department of Labour has given a great deal of study to the matter; and there, again, the department is somewhat doubtful as to the question of jurisdiction under the British North America Act. I am told that as yet Britain has not ratified that convention. We hope that some progress in the matter of jurisdiction can be made so that there will be an advance towards the eight-hour day, in which, of course, everyone in Canada believes.

Topic:   REFERENCE OF ITEMS IN ESTIMATES TO COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRANSPORT
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CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacINNIS:

I can not say definitely whether Great Britain has yet ratified the 1936 conventions which were adopted at Geneva. I went to Europe in the fall of 1936 and came back in the early winter, and between the time I went over and the time I came back an eight-hour day had been put into effect on the liner on which I sailed. That does not mean, of course, that these conventions were adopted. They covered quite a number of items besides hours of work. I hope the minister will give this matter further consideration and be able to let us have something more definite with regard to the conventions adopted by the international labour office than he has yet been able to do.

Topic:   REFERENCE OF ITEMS IN ESTIMATES TO COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRANSPORT
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CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. HEAPS:

This is a problem in which, I have no doubt, many other hon. members are interested. Although not many ships go out of the port of Winnipeg, I have become acquainted with many of these people. It seems anomalous that men who live in one province and work on ships plying between two or three provinces come, so far as their conditions of labour are concerned, entirely under provincial jurisdiction. For instance, a boat may ply between Toronto and Montreal,

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that is between Ontario and Quebec; another will ply between Quebec and Nova Scotia or New Brunswick. In such instances it is almost impossible to have purely provincial regulations to cover conditions of labour. Is there not some way whereby, through government regulation, something can be done to protect these men against long hours of labour? In committee a year ago we had illustrations of how long some of these men have to work.

Topic:   REFERENCE OF ITEMS IN ESTIMATES TO COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRANSPORT
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

I may say that the Department of Marine, predecessor to the Department of Transport, and the Department of Labour worked together for many years and tried to arrange something which would accomplish some control of labour on ships, but they have not been able to devise any system which would be within the British North America Act.

Topic:   REFERENCE OF ITEMS IN ESTIMATES TO COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRANSPORT
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CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. HEAPS:

Have they tried to work in conjunction with the provinces and get the provinces together in order to enact legislation of some kind whereby all provinces would be subject to the same law, or have the provinces enact similar legislation, as has been done in connection with other matters?

Topic:   REFERENCE OF ITEMS IN ESTIMATES TO COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRANSPORT
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

I do not know whether they have gone that far, but they have given the matter a good deal of attention.

Topic:   REFERENCE OF ITEMS IN ESTIMATES TO COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRANSPORT
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April 21, 1939