March 19, 1941

LIB

Donald Alexander McNiven

Liberal

Mr. McNIVEN:

And so is the building of an industry inside a particular community. The point I make is that over $300,000,000 of public money has been used to subsidize various enterprises and to provide plants for corporations which are infinitely better financed than is the province of Saskatchewan.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   WAR APPROPRIATION RILL
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

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

Mr. CASTLEDEN:

Why?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
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LIB

Donald Alexander McNiven

Liberal

Mr. McNIVEN:

Why what?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

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

Mr. CASTLEDEN:

Why are they being financed?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
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LIB

Donald Alexander McNiven

Liberal

Mr. McNIVEN:

I have no criticism of that. These plants were put up under pressure.

Their products were required for immediate use; the government turned to those agencies which could produce the goods with the least possible delay, and the least possible expense, in order to meet the emergency which was right at our door. I am not making any criticism of that. But we are told by Mr. Churchill, and we have been told repeatedly by our Prime Minister that we must prepare for a long war. If we are to prepare for a long war, then let us prepare in a manner which will utilize the resources, willingness, energy, information and initiative of all the people in Canada, including the million in Saskatchewan.

I have mentioned that a site is being developed in Alberta at lake Minawanka, west of Calgary. Already there have been overtures for the transmission of power from that site, or associated sites, to Saskatchewan. If transmission lines were built to connect the cities of Regina, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw, power reserves could be pooled, and a block of power developed which would be sufficient to support a very substantial industry.

May I remind hon. members that in Saskatchewan we have over eight billion lineal feet of standing, merchantable timber, accessible to transportation. Yet for Canada's war effort that province has supplied only some 8,000,000 feet.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   WAR APPROPRIATION RILL
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LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

What kind of timber?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
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LIB

Donald Alexander McNiven

Liberal

Mr. McNIVEN:

Spruce, tamarack and a few other varieties of that kind. It is all good lumber. I am not going to suggest that it is available for shipbuilding. The day of the prairie schooner is gone, but I suggest that that lumber could be used for housing, for erecting other buildings required, and thereby conserve the supply of timber in other areas for the building of ships and larger buildings. The use of that timber should be developed under the direction of the timber controller.

We have heard a great deal about our wheat surplus; yet no one has so far made any move to establish a plastics factory on the prairies, right alongside the wheat surplus. In the press we saw rumours respecting the erection of an aeroplane plastics factory, and of course it was to be built in central Canada, 2,000 miles away from the best wheat area in the world. Wheat makes a good plastic. Certain electric fixtures are now being made in Regina from wheat plastic. If a plastics industry could be developed, we would have an outlet for the wheat surplus which is causing so much anxiety to many people to-day.

Last Saturday and Sunday I saw thousands of firebrick in the various plants we visited. I inquired where they came from, and I was informed that they came from England and the United States. The people in charge

War Appropriation Bill

seemed to be oblivious of the fact that at Clay Bank, south of Moose Jaw, there is the largest deposit of fireclay in Canada. In fact, there is only one other, and it a small one, in the constituency of Fraser Valley.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   WAR APPROPRIATION RILL
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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. CRUICKSHANK:

Not a small one, at all.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
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LIB

Donald Alexander McNiven

Liberal

Mr. McNIVEN:

Well, a little smaller. At that point fireclay is being manufactured into firebrick and is used in the boilers of all locomotives on the western divisions of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Canadian National Railways. But the users of that material do not seem to know that such a product is available in Saskatchewan, and they proceed to buy it from outside points.

I have spoken a good deal longer than I had intended; but there is one further point which I should like to develop and with respect to which I again suggest Saskatchewan has been overlooked. There have been youth training centres at Regina, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and Prince Albert. But, sir, the personnel trained in those schools was less by one-half than the number who trained in and graduated from the school in Galt, Ontario.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

Oh, but look where Galt is!

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LIB

Donald Alexander McNiven

Liberal

Mr. McNIVEN:

I do not envy the location of Galt. I would sooner be where I am in the city of Regina.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

You would be surprised.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
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LIB

Donald Alexander McNiven

Liberal

Mr. McNIVEN:

I do not envy them anything they have.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

They have me.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
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LIB

Donald Alexander McNiven

Liberal

Mr. McNIVEN:

As I was saying, those who have been trained have come down to eastern Canada, and over a hundred of them have found work with the Canada Car and Foundry company at Fort William. Advertisements appear almost daily in our newspapers, calling for trained mechanics and for those experienced in the handling of machines to come down to eastern Canada where they will find a job. You see, Mr. Chairman, what has happened to us. We have been drained economically by the fiscal policy of Canada ever since the days of confederation, and now by the application of the war policy we are being drained of our young men and our young women. It is becoming a problem for us, but the problems that are being created now are nothing to what the problems will be after this war is over to again populate that province and find something for our people to do.

I ask the Minister of Labour (Mr. McLarty) to increase the vote for the training of personnel for war industries so that in Saskatchewan, schools may be established, not

only in the large centres such as Regina, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw, but in twenty-five or thirty or forty towns, where schools can train from forty to fifty pupils, because in all those towns will be found that number of willing workers who are eager to be trained. Give them an opportunity to participate in Canada's war effort on an equal basis with people from other parts of Canada. I wanted to bring this matter to the attention of the Minister of Labour and to urge him to increase the vote in order to provide trained personnel from our Saskatchewan towns.

This, together with the location of some war industries in Saskatchewan, particularly those with peace-time possibilities, will remove that sense of frustration which our people resent so much today and will at the same time provide a cushion, a shield, a buttress for the aftermath of the war.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   WAR APPROPRIATION RILL
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CON

John George Diefenbaker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

Mr. Chairman, I

find myself in accord with the address just delivered to this committee with regard to industry in Saskatchewan, but it is not with that I intend to deal this afternoon. Rather I wish to direct certain questions to the Department of National War Services.

Last evening, the Minister of Labour (Mr. McLarty) stated that the day was fast approaching when the man-power of this dominion, so far as labour was concerned, would be used up and that the training courses which are now being given would be insufficient to provide the necessary labour.

What I wish particularly to deal with this afternoon is the mobilization of women throughout the dominion, a matter that has not yet been dealt with by the committee, nor was it dealt with by the Minister of National War Services (Mr. Gardiner) in the review which he gave the other evening. I think the committee and this country should know what the policy of the Department of National War Services and of the Department of National Defence is in connection with the utilization of the services of the women of this dominion.

All of us agree on one thing, that the women of Canada have at this time the will to serve and to sacrifice in even greater measure than during the last war. Many Canadian women feel to-day, as we know from correspondence which all members of the house receive from time to time, that they are being denied that equality of sacrifice for which opportunity is accorded the women of the mother country.

I have no apologies for bringing this matter before the committee because, in my opinion, the time has arrived when the women of

War Appropriation Bill

Canada should be given a greater share in determining the outcome of this war. They give their services to-day in the Red Cross, in the nursing services, and in great degree in connection with war service campaigns and the like.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

And they are sacrificing

their sons.

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CON

John George Diefenbaker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

Yes; we all realize that. They have, however, had no opportunity as yet to serve in any public organization, nor have the auxiliary organizations which they have set up been given that recognition to which I believe they are entitled. There have been started in various parts of Canada by the women of this dominion, voluntary organizations such as the auxiliary service corps, the women's voluntary service corps, the Canadian auxiliary territorial corps, where physical training is given, motor mechanics are taught, and also first-aid and home nursing, and transport and office administration courses are given. _

I would ask the Minister of National War Services what use is being made of the training which these women are voluntarily undertaking. These women are willing to serve. Over the radio and in the press they are being asked to serve, and yet no use in a public way is being made of their services. They told of their qualifications in the voluntary registration which the women made in November, 1939. They followed that up and gave their qualifications again in the national registration.

The necessity of mobilizing the woman-power of the nation has been recognized in Great Britain, and the situation there has been epitomized in the words of Peggy Scott, in a recent work known as "British Women in War," a few lines of which I should like to quote:

Woman, as a national worker, was an experiment during the great war. She was_ regarded as an acquisition when war came again.

The British government was slow to make the woman-experiment in 1914. It held out both hands to acquire her services before the war began in 1939.

Not until the country had its back against the wall in 1917 were the women allowed to relieve the men in the fighting services. .Not until the food of the people was threatened were the women allowed to go on the land. . . .

The government did not wait for war a second time to enrol the women. It reckoned with the woman-power which had astonished it in the last war. Before the second great war began, the government had called for the biggest women's voluntary service ever known, and the navy, the army, and the air force had turned again to the women who had helped them out in 1917-1919.

In the United Kingdom, munitions factories have been staffed from top to bottom in consequence of the training schemes which

were established there in 1939 by the women's engineering society. As a result of what has been done in the old country, many men are to-day being relieved for active war service by reason of the fact that the women have been organized to take over managerial and labour work in the munitions factories.

All I am advocating to-day that the Department of National War Services should do is this-prepare now to mobilize these women; do not wait for another year or two years when the problem of a shortage of employees is likely to face this dominion.

In the old country, women are organized also into what one might call military corps: the women's royal naval service, in which they are enlisted as cooks, bookkeepers and the like; the women's auxiliary territorial service, where they are enlisted as clerks, stenographers and the like; the women's auxiliary air service, where they are organized under supervision to do work which is ordinarily done by men. There are also the nursing organizations, to which I shall not now make reference. These organizations of the air force, the navy and the army are under government control, and themselves form part of the services. There are also voluntary corps.

My only reason for making this resume is to ask the government this question, what is the government doing towards organizing the women of Canada along similar lines to the organizations I have mentioned? What is the government doing towards the establishment of a Canadian women's corps, where the services of women will be utilized in a similar manner to that in which they are used in these corps in Great Britain? Our manpower for purposes of production will gradually diminish-we have been told that over and over again in this committee-as the war progresses; and if this women's corps is set up now, or provision is made for its establishment, many men who are to-day doing work as clerks, cooks, drivers of cars, ambulances and the like, in the army, could be released to active army service. As a matter of fact, it has been estimated that women could take over 10 per cent of the positions now occupied by men in the armed forces of Canada.

I suggest to the government, and I ask for a declaration of policy with regard to, the establishment of training corps for workers, the widening of the scope of those already in existence, the setting up of training courses to fit women throughout Canada to do work in munitions and other factories for, as the Minister of Labour (Mr. McLarty) intimated last night, the day is fast approaching when the necessary man-power for labour

War Appropriation Bill

will be diminished to a minimum. The training of women at this time for the day when that shortage of man-power does arise, will ensure that their services will be available when they are required.

What is the position to-day of the Department of National War Services? Does it give inspiration and leadership to women's work in this dominion? Have they any announced policy in this connection? Offers from thousands of women have come during recent months to the department. Are their services being utilized? I will read an excerpt from a letter written by Doctor E. W. Stapleford, director of voluntary services, of the Department of National War Services, on November 6, 1940, in answer to the request of a woman for war work of some kind:

Your letter of November 2 addressed to the Minister of National War Services has been referred to me for reply.

As yet we have not time to make use of the thousands of offers which have come to this office. This whole problem is being carefully worked out and we hope that before long we shall be able to offer useful employment to all who desire it.

You may expect to hear from us again in the course of a month or two.

It is revealed there that already offers by the thousand to serve this country had been received. More than two months have elapsed, but as yet there has been no announcement or declaration of policy. What is more, under the regulations as they now stand in this country, women who can secure work in the United Kingdom in connection with the war are denied the right to leave Canada and go to Britain to do the war work which they cannot find an opportunity of doing here. Is it not time that some leadership should be given to the women of this country, by the setting up of an organization to survey, if necessary, the situation here in Canada and to correlate the work of the various women's organizations? I believe there are many outstanding and public-spirited women who would be willing voluntarily to undertake this work with a view to contributing their part in assisting the country and the empire at the present time. I ask the government to answer these questions, in particular: What is being done towards the organization of a women's corps in this dominion? Is it the intention of the government to appoint some woman to take over the direction with a view of organizing the various corps that are willing to serve?

This matter, I submit, is of great importance at this time; it is one that, if properly taken hold of, will do much towards mobilizing and uniting the people of this dominion.

fMr. Diefenbaker.]

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

Mr. Chairman, the few

remarks I have to make I should like to have made immediately following the speech of the hon. member for Regina (Mr. McNiven). I was greatly interested in his story of his visit to Hamilton, and was sorry that I could not have taken that trip with other hon. members. I had an invitation to a previous engagement in Hamilton which prevented me from accompanying the delegation. The hon. member effectively told the story of his visit to the different plants, and I am sure that all of us are greatly encouraged to know that matters are going so smoothly in that particular section.

However, while in that city on Sunday, at the same time as the delegation was there, I happened to meet some returned soldiers who served in the last war and who were employed-I say, "were"-by the National Steel Car company, one of the plants visited by the delegation. This group of ex-service men asked me if I would bring to the attention of the government the situation which confronts them at the present time, and which is not very nice. They have been endeavouring with every means at their disposal to have this matter settled by correspondence with their representative here and other agencies, but so far they have received no redress.

In order that hon. members may understand the basis for the few remarks I shall make, and the steps taken by the men themselves for the purpose of having the matter satisfactorily adjusted, I wish to quote from the Hamilton Review of September 27, 1940:

Too old now to fight for their country, there are Hamilton veterans of the last war with a fight on their hands at home this week. And right now it looks like a losing one. They are fighting for their jobs. This week six of them were fired. And there are others slated to go soon. There may be as many as fifty of these old soldiers discharged within the next few weeks. At least, there will be a couple of dozen unless some effective protest is registered at Ottawa. Incompetence is not the reason for dismissals of these veterans, and it is not because their jobs are being eliminated. Every one of them is being replaced, and will be replaced, by a young woman who will do the same job for less money.

That is just the beginning of that editorial which appeared in September, 1940. I have here another copy of the Hamilton Review of January 31, and perhaps it would be well for me to read a short extract from an article appearing on that date:

With their jobs at stake, a group of forty veterans of the last war were looking for a friend in Ottawa this week. They were pretty sure that the saving of those jobs was a matter that a friend in Ottawa could do something about. For nine or ten months now these

War Appropriation Bill

veterans have been shell inspectors. By the end of next week most of them, perhaps all, will be ex-shell inspectors-unless the official order of the munitions board is changed; unless someone in Ottawa is able to convince Ottawa that there may be some things more vital to the successful prosecution of Canada's war effort than placing women in their jobs. And we think these veterans might be excused for believing that there are some aspects of the war effort more important. Some of them have told us of things that they see from day to day on their jobs which make them wonder whether Canada's war effort is the serious, all-out business that they have been led to believe.

These men are working on shells of about 50 pounds. When it was pointed out to one official of the munitions board that it would require six women to do the work of two men now on the job, the official replied that the munitions board was "not interested in production." If this answer came as a surprise . . .

And so forth and so on. The matter is not one that arose last Sunday, and the men affected have been doing everything they can to bring about an adjustment. I have no objections to the Department of Munitions and Supply utilizing the services of women in any plant, factory or enterprise where there is a shortage of labour, but from the short visit paid to Hamilton I do not think that in that particular city there is any shortage of labour. I do not think it is conducive to our war effort, or lends any support to the effort in that city, to have forty or fifty ex-service men in this condition. These men went through the last war for the preservation of democracy, to make Canada a fit country for heroes to live in; and to have them, many of them married men with families, replaced to-day by young girls with no responsibility whatever, will not help the war effort. If, as the editorial sets out, it is for the purpose of reducing wages, then I think it is a matter that should be looked into by the Department of Munitions and Supply.

I would gather from a conversation which I had with the men affected that there is some misunderstanding as to who is responsible for the situation, or who has jurisdiction over these particular jobs. These men were shell inspectors. I understand that this work is under the supervision of the United Kingdom technical mission, an organization which at the present time is bringing out from Britain technical experts who are taking charge of this work. I believe that some of the correspondence they had with their own representative stated that there was not much that could be done because this particular end of that operation was in charge of British representatives in this country. Assuming that is true, I still think the government of this country have responsibilities as far as their own employees are concerned.

In some instances an alternative was given some of the men. They were asked if they would go to the United States or move to other parts of Canada and carry on the same line of work in other plants. I was given to understand that the rate of wages in the plant at Hamilton is fifty cents an hour. If they moved to the United States their wages would be increased to fifty-six cents an hour. The men that are being sent from Britain, the technical experts and others from Woolwich arsenal, are paid a subsistence allowance of $17 a week. There was a previous arrangement in that plant, I was told, and what I am saying is subject to correction. I understand that, under the previous arrangement, when they were sent to Canada they were paid a subsistence allowance of $17 a week.

Most of these ex-service men are getting on in years. They are fully qualified and capable of doing that kind of work; but to ask them at this time, with a rate of wages of fifty cents an hour, to break up their homes in Hamilton and move to other parts of Canada or to the United States, without giving them the same subsistence allowance as is given by custom established by the people under whose supervision they are to-day, is absolutely unfair. Most of them are in a poor condition of health. We can understand that. As I say, they are getting along in years, the victims of the last war more or less, and they cannot be expected to pull out and go to another country without any assurance of what they will return to when the war is over.

I think the Minister of Labour (Mr. McLarty) should have some responsibility. The labour department has definitely brought down laws governing wages, and fixed them at a certain level. May I ask whether order in council P.C. 7440 applies in plants under the supervision of the United Kingdom technical mission, and do other labour laws which have been passed in order to regulate matters for the duration of the war equally apply?

I mention this in order to bring it to the attention of hon. members. It is nothing new to those in charge of the Department of Munitions and Supply. There is nothing against these men. They are fully qualified. Some of them showed me certificates given them by employers who are letting them out now. One man in particular had twelve weeks without employment.

He had a certificate from the superintendent stating definitely that he was leaving through no fault of his own; that it was because of a change in their regulations; that the work

War Appropriation Bill

was being allocated to women, and the superintendent had no hesitation in recommending him for that work. He gave me a copy of that certificate.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
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LIB

Norman Alexander McLarty (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. McLARTY:

The hon. member made a suggestion as to the extent to which order in council 7440 applies. Perhaps he would

permit me to give the answer. It applies to all labour matters over which the federal government has any jurisdiction.

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March 19, 1941