November 14, 1941

LIB

Norman Alexander McLarty (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. McLARTY:

I mean the government in connection with the civil service. The problem arises in this country in connection, for example, with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the national harbour board, and other organizations, and what I propose to do as soon as the national war labour board is established is to ask them to make recommendations in connection with solving that difficult problem.

The War-Mr. Maclnnis

Topic:   THE WAR
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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

How many different kinds of organizations will be recognized in any one industry? It seemed to me that the policy at one time was to take a vote in the industry. I understand that such a vote was taken in the National Steel Car plant under a board set up by the Department of Labour, and that the vote was four to one in favour of the steel workers' organizing committee as the bargaining agency for the men. But on the refusal of the controller, on the advice of the government in carrying out government policy, to make a collective agreement with the steel workers' organizing committee an attempt was made-how successful I do not know-to build up with the assistance of the government an employees' council or company union in that plant. I am just wondering how many unions are going to be recognized in any one particular industry. This is really a new policy that is being adopted by the government in refusing to recognize outside unions, if you wish to call them such, as the bargaining agency in any industry in which the government is interested.

In the case of the Canadian National Railways, the post office, and a number of other organizations, the government have been negotiating and making agreements with the unions for a number of years. It was not until last May, when a question was asked in this chamber with regard to the association of technical employees and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, that I became aware there was a change of policy. To me it is an astounding state of affairs: no wonder that the situation existing between the Department of Labour and the organized labour movement of this country is as it is.

When the minister spoke on November 6, he chided both the leader of the opposition and myself for suggesting that there should be some compulsion in certain relations between employers and employees. I suggested that the matter of the recognition of organized labour should not be a question for either arbitration or conciliation; that once the employees had determined by a vote the bargaining agency, that agency should be recognized without further ado. But the minister says he is very much opposed to compulsion. Yet when I read P.C. 7307 I wonder whether the Minister of Labour is really opposed to compulsion; and if he is, I tremble for what is going to happen when he favours compulsion, because anything which is more compulsory than this order would have to go a pretty long way. I doubt whether either Hitler or Stalin ever issued an order more compulsory in effect than this order.

I am not going to read the order in full. It is dated September 16, 1941-and, let me point out, it was passed without consulting the national labour council, which was formed, we were told, for the purpose of consultation with labour in matters of this kind. The minister might explain why .the council was not consulted. It seems to me that the national labour council was formed under protest, as it were, by the government. It always irked them to have to bring matters to the council. It was merely an advisory body, having no power and really no functions except to look at documents which might be placed before it. But it was a link between the government and organized labour, and, weak as it was, the government could not stand for even that measure of labour recognition.

Section 2 of the order reads:

2. If it be the desire of the employees to strike or to take a strike vote, they shall before going on strike or taking a strike vote notify the minister that such is their desire, and upon receipt of any such notice if the minister is of opinion that a cessation of work would interfere with the efficient prosecution of the war, he may order or direct that a strike vote be taken under the supervision of the Department of Labour upon and subject to such provisions, conditions, restrictions or stipulations as he may make or impose.

Pretty strong language for a person who is opposed to compulsion!

3. In any case in which the minister makes an order or direction as aforesaid, all employees who in his opinion are affected by the dispute or whose employment might be affected by the proposed strike-

That is fairly wide.

-shall be entitled to vote and the voting shall take place within five days from the day upon which the minister received notice that the employees desired to take a strike vote.

It seems to me that in a strike vote, only those employees who would be affected by any agreement which would be arrived at between the employers and employees should be allowed to vote. Let me tell the committee that representatives of the miners of Kirkland Lake had to come to Ottawa in order to have the ballot which was taken last Saturday modified. On the ballot as first prepared, everyone in the employ of the mining companies, including office workers, and excepting only the directors and the management, were included among those entitled to vote. The employees' representatives had to come from Kirkland Lake to the Department of Labour at Ottawa in order to get that provision

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changed. I insist that a department which intended to be fair or which wanted to be fair to the workers of this country would not stoop to that kind of tactics.

4. Unless a majority of the ballots of those entitled to vote are cast in favour of a strike, it shall be unlawful for any employee to go on strike.

That policy represents a new principle. Supposing we in this house adopted that principle, so that it required a majority of hon. members to pass any legislation which was presented to the house for approval; the consequence would be that a number of members, by remaining outside the chamber, could prevent any measure, although passed by a majority in the house, from becoming law. It is the most ridiculous provision of majority rule.

5. Any employee who goes on strike contrary to the provisions of these regulations and any person who contravenes or fails to comply with any of these regulations or any order or direction made or given by the minister thereunder, or who incites, encourages or aids in any manner any employee to go or continue on strike, or any person to contravene or fail to comply with any of these regulations or any order or direction of the minister thereunder, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding twelve months, or to both fine and imprisonment.

And the Minister of Labour is opposed to compulsion! I ask again, what is going to happen to the workers when the minister favours compulsion, seeing how far he has gone while opposed to compulsion? But I have noted, ever since this war began, that whenever the minister has to exercise compulsion, it is never exercised upon the employers, but always in respect of the workers.

I said fhe other day that there was not a labour organization nor a representative or spokesman of labour in Canada that had a good word to say for the Department of Labour.

I have in my hand a statement made by Mr. A. R. Mosher, President of the Canadian Congress of Labour, on behalf of the executive committee of the congress, with reference to the passing of order in council P.C. 7307. Mr. Mosher states:

In passing order in council P.C. 7307, which virtually abolishes the right to strike, the government had demonstrated once again its inability or unwillingness to understand the purpose and function of the labour movement and the basic principles which should underlie the relationships between employers and workers. Since this order in council imposes still further restrictions upon rights which have been won by the workers after genera-

tions of struggle and sacrifice, without providing any means of removing the causes of industrial unrest, it will have the effect only of increasing discontent and distrust in the minds of the workers, and thus hindering our war effort.

There is more to the statement, but I will not read further. However, it clearly shows what the congress of labour, one of the influential bodies of organized labour in Canada, thinks of the government.

I have also before me a statement made by Mr. Tom Moore, president of the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada, the other large national body, following the issuing of the wage-freezing order in council. Mr. Moore says:

Both in its terms and in the manner of its introduction, the government programme is the longest step yet taken by any democracy

toward the establishment of a totalitarian state.

Mr. Moore and Mr. Mosher are not radicals by any standard you may apply to them. As a matter of fact, they are very conservative labour leaders; they are responsible men. And this is what each of them says about the government's labour policy. I think it is time the Department of Labour took stock of itself; it is time the Prime Minister took stock of the Department of Labour and tried to change conditions that there may be more confidence between the department and the workers who make the munitions of war which our soldiers when on the field of battle must have. The morale of the working forces of the country must be kept up; otherwise I am very much afraid for our war effort. Not only that, I am also afraid of what is going to happen when the war is over. There is now a certain degree of government control, there is some social compulsion. The employers are compelled to give some recognition to organized labour; but when the war restrictions are removed the struggle between labour and employers will begin again and with greater ferocity than ever before in the history of this country.

Labour-industrial relations in Great Britain were mentioned several times in the house during debate. In the June 23 issue of the New Republic there appears an article by William Steele McCauley, an instructor in the department of government of Harvard. He had been allocated to study Britain's industrial mobilization and labour policies. His article is entitled, "Why Britain has no labour problem."' By the way, I thought the article so good that I wrote to the minister and suggested to him that he should get a copy of the magazine and read it. I have not only read it, but I have read it many times.

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In the first place Mr. McCauley points out that the reason for better industrial relations in Great Britain than those found on the American continent-conditions in the United States are pretty much the same as in Canada -is that the workers in Great Britain are better organized. There are 6,234,000 members in the British trade union movement, almost as many, with a population of about one-fourth, as there are in the two organizations in the United States, the American Federation of Labour and the Committee for Industrial Organization. Members on both sides of the house when referring to this latter organization speak as if they were referring to criminals or gangsters. C.I.O. are the letters first used to designate the Committee for Industrial Organizations. Industrial organization is the opposite of. the craft form of organization. Mr. McCauley points out that in Great Britain the C.I.O. principle-that is, the industrial organization principle-has gone much further than it has in the United States, and as an example he gives the membership of the transport and general workers' union, of which Mr. Ernest Bevin, the present Minister of Labour in Great Britain, was general secretary before he went into the cabinet. Mr. McCauley points out that the transport and general workers' union is an amalgamation of 36 organizations, once independent, with a membership of over one million. It is regrettable that there had to be a split in the American Federation of Labour in order to organize the workers on an industrial rather than on a craft basis, but the evolution is an historical and economic necessity, because industry to-day is organized not on the craft basis, but on the basis of mass production. The fact is that machine production has eliminated a good deal of craft skill.

An agreement was entered into between organized labour and the government in Great Britain to end strikes. Perhaps I might read this paragraph to show what was done:

It must be remembered that in England strikes were not outlawed by an impatient parliament overriding the opposition of labour. In effect, the workers, acting through the Ministry of Labour's advisory council, and Ernest Bevin, formulated and imposed the ban on themselves. As the British law has not yet been enforced, it is in fact merely a declaration of industrial policy.

Strikes are continually going on in Great Britain, but they are not strikes for the recognition of a union or strikes for the right of this or that organization to make a collective agreement with an industry. Mr. McCauley shows that in the first few months of the war there were five important strikes in aircraft factories, involving nearly

twelve thousand persons. Four of these disputes resulted from demands for wage increases, and in no case did a strike last more than four days. In two instances they lasted only one and two days. I should like the committee to note this: in the fifth case nearly 1,200 workers struck for four days to enforce their demand that they be permitted to stop work in mid-afternoon to make tea.

Supposing that happened at the National Steel Car plant. What a cry would go up from one end of this dominion to the other! Why, I am afraid every member of the Canadian Manufacturers' Association would have died of a stroke of some kind. But in Great Britain they find solutions for these things. A compromise was reached in this case, when the management agreed to send tea tables around the assembly line. What do my hon. friends think of that? The fact of the matter is that in Great Britain organized labour, and in fact unorganized labour as well, have reached the stage where they say that if the employer can stop off for tea in the afternoon -and all British employers do-we have the right to stop off for tea also. I have for many years been connected with a trade union, and I remember occasions when the union of which I was an executive was negotiating an agreement with our employer, who was an Englishman. About four o'clock in the afternoon, in the midst of our discusssions, when very likely we were lambasting each other, he would say, "Gentlemen, would you like to have a cup of tea?"

I wish to say that the situation that exists in Great Britain has come about because organized labour is recognized; and, indeed, Mr. McCauley points that out in these words:

But the most important difference between the labour movements of the two countries-

That is, between America and Great Britain. -is that collective bargaining has been universally accepted in England as an essential condition of healthy industrial relations. Organized associations of trade unions are recognized and dealt with by organized associations of employers. British industrialists are not more tolerant than Americans, but they are more mature.

In other words they are more civilized.

Britain years ago passed through her disruptive period of labour organization. The fear of labour as a subversive class has given way to the practical necessity of admitting labour's right to organize and to be treated as a respected element in the industrial community.

Until employers in Canada, and the government of Canada, come to the same conclusion, that labour must be accepted as a respected element in the industrial community; until they are willing to make agreements with labour on the understanding that labour is

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just as much interested in the welfare of the country as they are, and perhaps more so- until that time arrives, whether in war or in so-called peace, we can have nothing but industrial unrest.

I do not know if it is necessary for me to say any more on this matter, but I plead with the Prime Minister, because after all hr is responsible. Some people tell me that I am foolish in appealing to him; they say he was the originator of company unionism on the American continent. But I leave that aside and plead with the Prime Minister to take stock of his Department of Labour, to try so to organize that department that it can obtain the cooperation and the respect of the organized labour movement in the Dominion of Canada.

Mrs. DORISE W. NIELSEN (North Battleford): I feel that I should take a few moments to support much of what has been said by the hon. member who has just taken his seat (Mr. Maclnnis). It seems to me there is no question in Canada at this time which is of greater importance to the ordinary people than that of the relationship betwen industry and labour, and the amount of work that can be accomplished during the difficult days that lie ahead. It is all very well to put our trust in armed force; but to-day, in the type of battle that we are waging, no armed force is going to win a victory unless it has the necessary supplies, which the industrial army alone can provide. We have these two great forces, the workers and private industry, or the employers; and it is of the greatest importance to the nation at large that harmony should prevail between these forces if the greatest possible amount of work is to be accomplished.

As has been stated already by other hon. members, there is widespread dissatisfaction among the working people of this country. Labour has pledged its support unequivocally; time and again it has said there should be only one consideration in mind, that everything possible should be done. Not only has labour made statements; I am told by some men employed in war industries that the workers have taken it upon themselves to form in the various industries committees which discuss ways and means of increasing production in the various plants. They also consider methods by which they may eliminate waste, so that everything possible may be done to assist the war effort. Certainly it is something that should be appreciated, when we see the workers themselves taking the initiative in this drive for greater production.

I have listened to the reports presented in the house by the various ministers, particularly

I Mr. Maclnnis.]

the Minister of Munitions and Supply and the Minister of Labour. These reports have been interesting; numbers of figures have been given with regard to production, with regard to labour and so on. But I must say that there is a great difference between listening to the ministers report to the house and going around the country talking to people who themselves work in factories. During the past summer I travelled over a considerable part of this country. I talked to a number of trade union leaders; I was a visitor at the two trade union congresses, and I listened to and talked with those who, with their strength, their power, their initiative and ability and skill, do the actual physical labour that has to be done. And I know that from one end of Canada to the other there is a growing unrest, a growing feeling that the labouring people are not getting a square deal, are not receiving the consideration from this government which is theirs by right.

This has been stated before; it is not a new thought, but I consider that in a time like this it is a crime and a disgrace that after two years of war the government have not enlisted the services of more working people upon the boards which help in the direction and promotion of the war effort. There is a labour supply council acting as an advisory body. Beyond that, where do we find the workers from the factories, the mines and the shops? Where do we have them actually advising the government, giving their opinions, giving their points of view, giving some of the help I know they could give? Where do we find them helping to cut down the waste and speed up production?

There is no use trying to get awray from it: among the working people of Canada there is a vast reservoir of potential energy, initiative, intelligence, and skill, and I would say most decidedly that the government is not taking the fullest opportunity to make the greatest use of that vast reservoir of competence and desire. Thinking over the situation as it exists to-day in Canada I would say that the greatest dam holding back the democratic will to action on the part of the working people is the control of private industry and its practical direction- I might say its sole direction-of the war effort.

I noticed a short time ago something Mr. Priestley is reported to have said in criticism of the British government. Mr. Priestley is well known to Canadians, because he has spoken over the radio to the Canadian and British peoples. He has a criticism of the

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British government which I suggest could be applied with equal force to this one. In a brief paragraph he says:

Let me give you two examples that affect production. Firms doing essential war work are often allowed to think too much about what is going to happen to them after the war. They should be told brutally that such long-term planning now is disastrous, and that unless they concentrate entirely on the work in hand there may be no post-war for them.

To-day, in speaking to some of the trade union leaders across the country, and to some who come from the shipbuilding yards at Halifax and at the Pacific coast, I hear tales and stories of the men who check in in the morning and then idle their time away throughout the day because there is not sufficient for them to do. There has been a lack of planning, a lack of consideration by the government of the possibility of a full utilization of the workers' time. These are skilled men who want to work. There is nothing more demoralizing for a man than to stand around idly and not be able to get on with the task in which he has his whole heart and interest.

At the meeting of the trades and labour congress held this summer the representatives of the plumbers' and steamfitters' union were actually asking for a royal commission to inquire into waste and inefficiency at one of the Pacific coast shipbuilding yards. There was nothing but a desire on the part of the workers to eliminate some of the waste and to get on with the job which has to be done. While at the meeting of the congress I was given a brief which was submitted to the congress by the representatives of the Montreal aircraft workers, lodge No. 712. I should like to quote one or two paragraphs from that brief, because I believe it demonstrates first of all that the FrenctnCanadian working people are just as solid as any other Canadians in their desire to give more than they are giving at the present time to the industry in which they are interested. I quote from the brief:

It has become evident to us that those in high places to-day have no formula for the winning of the war against Hitler. We present our views on the matter in the following statement, together with some of our proposals for the carrying out of a real campaign for victory. . . .

This war, especially as it affects us as workers and trade unionists, is a war of production- the difference between going forward to a better life, or of going backward to barbarism under the nazi heel.

This being the case, we in Canada can best serve our country and humanity by producing -for the brave British people and their allies- the greatest possible amount, in the shortest period of time, of aill the armaments and munitions which we are capable of doing.

To this end every other consideration becomes subordinated-

Showing their desire at all costs to go ahead and give the maximum amount that they can do. It continues:

*-even our very natural and healthy desire for improved social services, and a higher standard of living.

Anything or anybody who stands in the way of the production of war materials must be overcome or removed.

We in the aircraft industry in Montreal know that the production of planes is not a fraction of what it could be. We speak from our own experiences. . . .

There is the attitude of the employers toward the war effort. We have received the impression that certain of the employers in our industry are no longer interested in producing planes as fast as possible. Instead, they seem to be concentrating only on the possibilities of amassing huge profits.

Due to poor planning in production, mass loafing is enforced in certain spots. Often workers who are honestly anxious to get on with the job are forced, because they have no job to do, to read magazines or make trinkets for themselves.

Who is responsible for this state of affairs? . . .

Certainly it is not the employees.

The blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the manufacturers who, though they are themselves only learning how to produce planes in quantity, look with contempt on the workers who could supply the solution for 90 per cent of the trouble.

These people in the aircraft industry certainly want to give assistance, but they are being blocked by the owners, the industrialists who have sole control of the effort being made.

Certainly the workers in the steel industry are not working to the fullest capacity. There are times when the men in the steel and automobile industries are working only a few days in the week, and certainly are not working full time. In connection with the government's policy respecting labour it would seem that the industrialists of Canada who have control of the war effort, and of industry itself, are allowed to have such complete control. In many instances it becomes apparent to the workers that private industry in Canada is becoming more interested in the battle against labour forces than in the real battle against fascism.

The question of collective bargaining, which has already been discussed, is one which looms up as something of the greatest importance. At Kirkland Lake we have an instance of private industry in the shape of gold mining corporations versus the miners themselves. There has never been any question in my mind, or, I believe, in the mind of any thoughtful person, that the miners themselves are in any way disloyal. They have given their sons, and they have done everything

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they could. It is simply that they feel that the democratic right which belongs to them is not receiving the attention and the protection this government should be prepared to give it. After all is said and done, no one can say to-day that the mining companies in northern Ontario are not receiving a fair share of war profits. I notice in an article appearing in the Northern Miner of June 14, 1941, that the dividend payments by Canadian mining companies for the first six months of this year, after deducting excess profits tax, reached the sum of 853,775,773, an increase of over a million dollars over the same period last year.

In his speech the Minister of Labour (Mr. McLarty) said that we are asking sacrifices of the workers. The workers are justified in asking this question: what sacrifices will the Minister of Labour ask private industry to make? If there is to be equality of sacrifice there is no reason why private industry should not be called upon to bear its share of the sacrifice. This thought has been expressed in certain editorials. I notice in the Fort Erie Times-Review some pertinent remarks with regard to the Kirkland Lake situation. This editorial, Which is quite brief, reads:

A great many self-appointed leaders of public opinion have been preaching on the subject of labour's duty to the country; have been insisting that, while this nation is at war, wage-earners have no right to strike; that any disagreement with employers must be composed by peaceful means which will not cause any interruption in production. In short, labour is told that its part in this war is to labour- under whatever conditions an employer chooses. To strike against such conditions is held to be a betrayal of the nation. But what is to be said of employers who have so little regard for the country's welfare or its war programme that they announce their unalterable opposition to the recognition of a union, and refuse to have anything to do with any conciliation proceedings unless they are first assured of having their own way-at least on that particular point at issue? Are men in the fighting forces and those in the ranks of labour the only ones who must make sacrifices in order that the war may be won? Must the worker make all the concessions-or be exposed to charges of _ disloyalty and sabotage-while the employer is free to sustain an intolerant, dictatorial manner with impunity, and without regard for the consequences of his arrogance ?

This right of collective bargaining is something to which I am sure the Minister of Labour must give the most earnest consideration. The principle has been established already; I believe it was established back in 1919 by a royal commission. It was agreed to by the League of Nations and was covered by the treaties to which this government was a signatory. But it is not enough to have a principle enunciated. A short while ago I read a booklet on collective

bargaining written by a very eminent Canadian lawyer, Mr. J. L. Cohen. He gave as a typical illustration the pedestrian versus the motorist. He said it was all very well to establish the principle that the pedestrian should have the right to cross the road and that the drivers of vehicles should not be allowed to speed and to take the life of pedestrians, but no government would be foolish enough to stop with just the declaration of that principle; it would be necessary to pass laws providing that vehicles must drive only a certain number of miles per hour, that pedestrians must be protected and so on.

In this struggle of the workers versus the employers, it is not enough to establish the principle, as P.C. 2685 does, that collective bargaining is agreed by the government to be correct; it is necessary that we should hav? laws to enforce the principle and to see to it that private industry does not ride roughshod over the democratic rights of the workers. If the labour policy of this government is not enforced by law, if the rights of the workers are not protected, then this government will go in the same direction that the government of Vichy went before the betrayal of the French people into the hands of nazism. Let us not travel in that direction. Let us not travel in the direction which limits and curtails the rights of our workers and leaves them unprotected. Let us travel in the other direction, the direction which Great Britain and the United States have taken, toward the protection of labour.

I plead with the Minister of Labour at this time. Before the house opened I went up to Kirkland Lake and spoke to hundreds of the women of that town, the wives of the miners and the business men. Those women are solidly behind the men in their desire to maintain peace in the town. They have no desire that their husbands should go out on strike. Nobody wants to go out on strike. The miners of Kirkland Lake have never wanted it. But if the gold mine owners are not curbed by governmental action, by governmental intervention, there will be nothing left for the workers but to retire to the last trench of democratic defence, which is the strike, and try to force democracy to function in this country. These women are afraid of the bloodshed and distress which may occur in Kirkland Lake, and yet I am happy to see that they stand solidly with their men in upholding the democratic rights of the workers.

As the hon. member for Vancouver East has indicated, much has been said in this country about the intervention of the Congress of

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Industrial Organizations. The international president of the mine, mill and smelter workers' union, Mr. Reid Robinson, was held up for several hours when he attempted to enter Canada. He had intended to go to Kirkland Lake to speak to the miners there, but he was questioned for such a long period of time that he could not keep his engagement. This received some comment in the United States. In the News magazine of Toronto of November 1, 1941, their Washington correspondent remarks:

There may be blushes up there in that big dominion of yours soon over the deportation of Reid Robinson. The head of the international union of mine, mill and smelter workers is working on a programme which may make him a major contributor to the supply of vital armament to Britain.

Mr. Robinson is studying the copper situation. The article continues:

If the programme is as good as promised, Canada may find that in deporting Reid Robinson it deported a good friend of Britain and of its defence against naziism.

This talk against the C.I.O. unions and the work which they are doing had better be stopped. We are finding out that these unions are actually helping the defence projects in the United States. We should welcome anything of the kind that they can do instead of acting as we have done and trying to make out that they are disruptive and spoiling the war effort of this country.

There is no doubt that the working people can be forced to fight. The working people of Germany have been driven to fight. The working people of a democracy want to fight as free men and women. They should be given a chance to have some of the beauty and fineness of life which working people appreciate as much as others. The labour policy of this country is being criticized. To some extent we are being held up to ridicule in the United States of America. I do not know whether hon. members noticed the article which appeared this week in PM a magazine which has a large circulation in the United States. Under date of November 10 there is an article headed, "Canada Suppresses Labour to Fight People's War." I should like to read one paragraph to show what the people of the United States are reading about our government's labour policy. It is as follows:

Labour has been given no real representation in the determination of war policy, shaped by Liberal party functionaries and dollar a year industrialists.

While it has frozen wages and imposed other curbs on labour, the Canadian government has failed to enforce the declared right of workers to bargain collectively through unions of their

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own choice. After enunciating this right on June 20, 1940, the government has continued to disregard it, not only in private industry, but in its own war contracts and even in its own plants.

The article then goes on to say:

Canada has carried its war time restrictions to the point where they not only rip at the basic fabric of democracy, but threaten successful prosecution of the war against Hitler.

. I would ask the Minister of Labour if at this time it is not all-important that our own Prime Minister and our own government should do everything to instil into the minds of the American people that Canada is leading the way in the western hemisphere. Articles such as this are followed with the report in Tuesday's paper that "Canada interns union leaders without trial"; and in Wednesday's paper that Franeeschini, who had been interned, was freed; and in Thursday's paper that the Canadian mounties and the Minister of Justice teamed up on interning twelve union leaders. Of course the question of the internment of labour leaders does not come specifically under the Department of Labour but on the other hand you will find that the American people, especially their trade unions, are very much concerned about the policy of the Minister of Justice which has resulted in the internment of some of our labour leaders. In fact the concern over this in the United States is so great that a state representative of that country is going to intercede on behalf of one of the international unions leaders; that is in the case of Mr. Jackson.

It seems to me that all these things need to be considered so very much more by this government and that the expression of democracy with regard to our whole labour policy should be given with the fullest freedom. It is even said that certain conditions with regard to our labour movement are being used by the isolationist element in the United States with a view to preventing and impeding the fullest participation of the United States working people. This is something which I bring to the attention of the house. These articles have only recently been written, just this week, and I would advise hon. members to read them for themselves and judge whether the policy of our government with regard to labour is not going to have an adverse effect on the worker in the United States.

I would remind the minister that Mr. Bevin in England said:

Let bitterness and discontent get into the hearts of my army of workers and then, by God, we have lost the war.

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The Minister of Labour, if he is close enough to the working people of this country, must realize that the government's policy with regard to labour and wage-freezing, which the majority of workers regard as the actual freezing of democracy, is beginning to have the effect of bitterness and discontent. I know the workers will go on. They know that if fascism should ever win, they will be the ones who will suffer and bear the brunt of repression. On the other hand I would beg and plead with the Minister of Labour to see that government policies allow the Canadian workers to fight in this war as free men and not as slaves.

Topic:   THE WAR
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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. CLARENCE GILLIS (Cape Breton South):

It is rather difficult at this time to

say anything on the question of labour that has not already been said by the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Maclnnis) or the hon. member who has just taken her seat (Mrs. Nielsen). But there are a few observations I wish to make.

On another occasion in this house I made the statement that I considered the Department of Labour the most important war department in government. While the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Munitions and Supply have their own functions to perform with respect to organizing the defence machinery necessary to the prosecution of the war, the Minister of Labour has definitely under his department the job of organizing and mobilizing the workers of this country, who in the final analysis will produce the sinews of war without which the Department of Munitions and Supply and the Department of National Defence are helpless. I am disappointed that there are not more members in the house to take part in this discussion, because upon a clarification of the problems of the workers rests, in my opinion, the most necessary thing at this time with respect to this war prosecution about which so many talk.

I should like to make it clear that I do not look upon the Minister of Labour personally as an individual responsible for the present labour policy of the government. I realize that he is merely one of the instruments which are used by the government. The real government, I believe, does not sit in this house. They are on the outside of this house, those who direct the economy of this country, and the Minister of Labour is in the position of having to bring into this house legislation that was manufactured outside of the house.

I would like to introduce a new angle into this discussion of the government's labour policy. I have heard it stated many times,

both outside and inside of the house, that the government has no labour policy, that it is merely following a haphazard course and endeavouring to meet problems as they arise. Personally I do not see it in that way. I believe that the government has a well-defined. labour policy, one which has been carefully mapped out and which did not have its origin either this year or last year. As a basis for that statement, and in order to build my case around the legislation that has been passed up to the present time, I would draw the attention of the committee to an article in the last issue, September, 1941, of the Canadian Forum, written by a man who I think is fairly well informed on the problem he discusses. He is an economist, and has always taken an active interest in public affairs in this country. I am going to read only two short paragraphs, and from them I shall endeavour to prove that this government has a well-defined labour policy and is travelling on a road which it has clearly mapped out. The article is written by Mr. Eugene Forsey. He says in one paragraph:

Mr. Tom Moore, in 1919, summed up Mr. King's plan in these words: "There are many ways of destroying trade unions, and they have nearly all been tried except the one of agreeing to them but seeing that they do not operate and function" (a reference to the "no discrimination" clause in the plan); "and this is the design of the plans which are based on the Rockefeller plan."

Further on he says:

Mr. King has professed to regard his plan as introducing a "constitution" into industry. But the proviso, which he himself declared "essential", that the employees cannot choose "outsiders" to represent them, violates one of the basic principles of the British constitution: that the elector may choose his representative from anywhere he pleases, inside the constituency or outside it. That principle Mr. King should be the last to deny.

What do I see in this company unionism plan or shop committee plan which has been tried over a period of years both in this country and in the United States? Let me say in passing that it is stated that the Prime Minister of this country was the originator of. this plan while he was employed by the Rockefeller people in the United States. Proceeding on the assumption that the article which I have quoted is correct, and I do so because the legislation which the Minister of Labour unfortunately has to defend in this house is travelling on exactly that road, P.C. 26S5 in regard to this shop committee plan definitely sets out recognition of the principle of the right of the workers to organize. It is couched in very fine language. But it is the only order in council which has been passed by the government that has no

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legal status. It is not obligatory under any conditions on the part of the operator to recognize a union of any kind. In that connection, they have recognized there in principle the right of the workers to organize; and, as Mr. Moore sets out, the only scheme which has not been tried is to render the movement impotent and not allow it to function. That is well exemplified in P.C. 7440, which follows the plan through by rendering the movement impotent-recognizing it in principle, but not allowing it to function. That order in council has definitely relegated to the background the recognized unions which have been doing collective bargaining over a long period, some of them as long as thirty years, signing agreements, working out their own conditions through committees conferring as between the union and the employer. The order in council has absolutely usurped the bargaining powers of these legitimate trade unions, to say nothing of the difficulties it has put in the way of those who are endeavouring to organize unions.

The main function of a union once it is set up is to bargain collectively with the employers on the basis of the ability of industry to pay. It has therefore a definite function to perform. But under P.C. 7440 the unions may no longer bargain with the employers. They consult the conciliation boards set up by the government. The order in council freezes wages, so taking away the normal function of the unions to bargain with the employer. This is why I say the legitimate trade union movement is rendered impotent. No longer do the unions negotiate; no longer do they sign agreements; no longer do their membership get a referendum vote as to whether or not an agreement is acceptable. All these were functions of unions in the past. But the trade union movement to-day^ is nothing more nor less than a dues-collecting agency.

In addition to taking away all the democratic functions which the unions exercised in the past, the government have taken away completely their right to settle grievances; they have usurped the powers of their grievance committees, by setting up, at least in Nova Scotia-and I assume the same thing has occurred in other parts of the country-a board which deals with grievances. Upon that board in Nova Scotia sit two representatives of the coal companies who have the final say in any matter which may be under dispute.

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LIB

Norman Alexander McLarty (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. McLARTY:

I do not follow the hon. member for Cape Breton South. To which board does he refer?

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Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

I do not know whether you call it the mediation board-I mean the board which was set up by a provincial conference in Halifax, under the Minister of Labour. There

sit on that board, J. W. McLeod, district superintendent of the company, and A. W. Mathieson, another district superintendent.

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LIB

Norman Alexander McLarty (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. McLARTY:

The hon. member is not referring to any board appointed under the new order in council?

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Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

Oh, no. I mean that in accordance with principles laid down in order in council 7440, this mediation board is set up for the settlement of disputes, is given the final say in connection with these disputes, and there is no appeal from its decision, which rests with two superintendents of the company and one member of the union. They have the disposal of any grievance which may arise under the contract-

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LIB

Norman Alexander McLarty (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. McLARTY:

I do not wish to interrupt the hon. member, but is this a board of conciliation, or is it a board appointed by the government of Nova Scotia?

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Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

It is a board appointed by the government of Nova Scotia for the purpose of settling grievances, but it is in line with this order in council 7440. The fact of the matter is that that conference was held for the purpose of trying to work out some medium of settling grievances, and was based on this order in council 7440. The trade union movement, by the establishment of these company unions, has been rendered impotent; and as I see it, the policy which the Minister of Labour is here to defend is not his policy or the policy of parliament; it is a policy which was laid down some time between 1916 and 1918 in the United States with respect to the establishment of company unionism. We might as well understand that this policy is well defined, that this is the road which it is travelling, and that it has as its final objective the complete elimination of trade unionism as we have known and understood it in Canada during the past thirty years.

Following the plan through, the effect of order in council 7307 is to take the franchise completely away from the established unions. That was well exemplified in Kirkland Lake. They do not deliberately take away the ballot, but the order places upon the Minister of Labour or his department the responsibility of decision, and there are no regulations with respect to the taking of the ballot. He can do it in one way in this section, he can do it in another way in that section, as illustrated by th^ vote taken down in Windsor at the Ford plant, and that taken at Kirkland Lake. The vote at Kirkland Lake was in my opinion a deliberate attempt on somebody's part to befuddle the men there into voting for a company union. I read that ballot the other

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day; and it would show a very high standard of intelligence for a group of men to go in there at a moment's notice, without having seen that ballot before, and cast a vote on that question. The vote at the Ford plant was absolutely fair. Yet it all goes to show that the Minister of Labour has in his hands, provided he wishes to exercise it, a complete dictatorship with respect to the question of the establishment of a union.

This trend of interference with the franchise is, to my mind, a very dangerous one at this time, and legislation on these lines is not in accordance with the laws of democracy. Many people out in the country are beginning to wonder whether we are not moving in the wrong direction by interfering with the vote for the establishment of democracy in industry.

In addition to that we have had the experience of the deliberate disfranchising of men in uniform in the last election in Nova Scotia. In that election not one man in uniform who was outside the province was enabled to vote. Many of our boys were training in Ontario, many others in New Brunswick, and many more were overseas in England, prepared to lay down their lives for democracy. Yet the government of Nova Scotia disfranchised these men and so deprived them of the very essence and basis of the democratic life. They were given no opportunity of saying who should represent them during the war or the aftermath of the war. This trend to belittle the franchise, to cast it on one side, either in the provincial election or under the provisions of this order in council, is in my opinion a dangerous tendency and one which should be checked immediately-that is if we expect the people to make the effort which we want them to make during the process of fighting this war.

Another matter to which I should like to call the minister's attention is the cost of living bonus, which comes within the province of his department. In fact it is not a cost of living bonus; if it were, a man would receive it whether he was working or not, because you are living seven days a week whether you are working or not, and the cost of living is exactly the same. The proper definition of this so-called cost of living bonus is that it is a steady work bonus, because you get it only for the days you work; it is based on the actual number of days you work. So that instead of being a cost of living bonus to offset increased living costs, it is a bonus based on your earnings and the number of days you work. That is how it operated in Nova Scotia. We had considerable difficulty there

this summer. It is a long story which I do not want to resurrect here. It serves no purpose to rake old straw or open old sores.

I wish now to refer for a moment or two to the cost of living bonus. After a good deal of difficulty it was decided that a certain bonus would be paid. A delegation came here and waited on the government, and the war-time prices and trade board decreed that a certain bonus should be paid to the miners of Nova Scotia. What I am concerned about is that those who should have paid the bonus, the operators, did not pay a cent. The entire cost of paying that bonus to the miners was passed back to the already overtaxed consumer. The company was permitted by the war-time prices and trade board to increase the selling price of coal twenty-two cents a ton-that is, coal mined and sold in Nova Scotia-and therefore the burden of the bonus was placed upon the coal consumers in that province exclusively. The strange thing is that the only people that did get a bonus were the company. While the government decreed that there should be twenty-two cents a ton additional in the selling price of coal, the company increased the price twenty-five cents, so that the miners are paying back a portion of the bonus to themselves, the actual consuming public paying the rest of it. It would cost twenty-two cents a ton to offset the total cost, and the company charge twenty-five cents, so that they are receiving three cents a ton bonus on that coal mined and sold in Nova Scotia.

I understand that the government at that time was supposed to make an investigation into the ability of the company to pay, and to ascertain whether the set-up there at the present time, that is to say the link-up of the different companies, retarded in any way the negotiations of the miners' unions with the coal companies. I do not think these recommendations have ever been put into operation. In that particular instance the application of the cost of living bonus, or the steady-work bonus, which it really is, was passed back to the consumers, and the people who really got the bonus were the company.

There are many things which one might talk about this afternoon. I have no desire to keep the house in session; I have no desire to repeat anything that has already been said. There is, however, another question which I would bring to the attention of the minister. It may not come exclusively within his department; nevertheless it affects people that do come within the jurisdiction of the department.

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Let me mention briefly order No. 68, consumers' credit regulations. This order sets out a long list of articles which, I take it, are to be regarded as luxuries.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

No; I am referring to the regulations. The matter comes within the province of the war-time prices and trade board, but it has a definite relationship to the section of the country I come from, and I mention it because it restricts the lending companies in making loans for the purpose of enabling miners to purchase certain articles which are listed under the regulations. Loans are prohibited for the purpose of purchasing such necessities as bedding, springs and all that sort of thing, which are absolute household necessities. Throughout the whole of Nova Scotia, but very definitely in the section of the country I come from, there are credit union movements which are exclusively miner. In the past many of the people in that section have been aided by these credit unions. These people are on a weekly wage; their earnings are not large, and whenever they wanted to purchase furniture, bedding or other necessities of that sort, they were obliged, before the establishment of the unions, to go to some merchant and pay 25, 30 or 35 per cent more than they would if they were buying for cash. In that way they wasted a lot of money. By means of this credit union movement we have practically cured that situation and saved a considerable amount of money for our membership.

These credit unions are not lending institutions; they are formed for the purpose of establishing the credit of the small income groups who reside in the community, and they perform this definite function, that when a person wishes to purchase articles-many of them listed here-for $100 or $150, he goes to the credit union and gets a loan. He makes the purchase for cash, thus saving 25 or 30 per cent which he would pay if he were buying on the instalment plan. The loan is paid back to the credit union in small instalments at a low rate of interest, and that interest at the end of the year comes back to the miners themselves in the way of dividends. The whole turnover is in their own interests, and they really save a large amount of money in the purchasing of ordinary necessities for their homes, many of which necessities are listed in this order, No. 68, that has to do with consumers' credits.

I am wondering whether the Minister of Labour or the minister under whose department it comes exclusively will take this matter

into consideration. I am reasonably sure, in fact I have been told, that this order applies to these credit unions, and the people who deal with the unions are therefore placed in an unenviable position. All that will be accomplished will be to drive them back to the condition from which they were rescued by this very movement, and the result will be that a good deal of money will be wasted through purchases on the instalment plan instead of through the medium of the credit union set-up.

May I now say a few words with regard to the situation in Kirkland Lake. I have been there; I have seen the place, and I know that the Minister of Labour is familiar with it. I know he is doing what he can with a view to arriving at a settlement. But the propaganda that appears in the press is not fair to the men in that section. I know that everyone in Kirkland Lake desires to see a settlement which will not disrupt the community. There are 26,000 or 27,000 people in the town of Kirkland Lake, surrounded by mines which will be affected in the event of a strike, and the entire life of the community will be disorganized, much damage done, and many sores opened up that will take a good deal of time to heal, if a satisfactory settlement is not reached. We find in the press from time to time the statement that something foreign is being injected into the situation there, that it is led by foreigners, outside organizations, and all that sort of thing. That is absolutely untrue. Every official of the union in Kirkland Lake is employed in or around the mines and is a resident of that town. The only man who has any relations outside, assisting the organization, is an administrator, working through the international union. I know him very well, and I can say that he is one of the most sensible, one of the sanest labour leaders in the dominion to-day. He has his feet on the ground; he knows where he is going, and if there is any difficulty or a strike in that section it will not be Tom McGuire's fault. It will not be the fault of the man who is endeavouring to assist the men there with their organization.

This propaganda about outsiders is most unfair, coming from such an industry. Many of the owners of that gold-mining industry, the people who draw the dividends, do not live in Canada. Some of them left the country and went to the Bahamas in order to avoid paying income tax. They have shirked their responsibility to this country. The local management who deal with the men have not, in my opinion, much more to say with regard to the management of the industry than I

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have. Absentee ownership directing the industries of this countiy is, I think, largely responsible for the difficulties which the Minister of Labour and the government are having in connection with this question of union recognition.

As I see it, after thinking the matter over and reading this article by Forsey, the trend at this time is toward the usurpation of the legitimate trade union movement and the setting up of an organization in Canada based on the company union or employees' plan. I know personally that this does not work. In the city of Sydney they had; in operation for a good many years a plant council, and there was nothing but trouble, turmoil, low wages, misery and degradation. About three, years ago, under an act passed by the provincial government, the steel workers of Sydney were enabled to set up for themselves a legitimate bargaining agency. Since the establishment of that union they have increased their wages by 25 or 30 per cent. They have had harmonious relations with the employers, and have improved the whole life of the community. They are taking part in various activities throughout the section of the country in which they are organized, activities in which they never took part before, and I have not seen any strikes or heard of any difficulties. They have eliminated much of the prejudice and misunderstanding that existed previously.

This company union plan does not work. You find perhaps one per cent of the men acting on committees, going round with the foremen and becoming friendly with the superintendent. You have the other ninety-nine per cent sitting back disgruntled, knowing they are denied their legitimate rights to join a union, knowing that their grievances are not properly presented. They are fertile soil for anyone who wishes to come at any time and stir them up. In my opinion the proper way, and the only way, to establish harmonious relations between the employer and the employee is to get them together in a signed agreement, which gives recognition to the basic rights of the men themselves, which permits a committee of the men to meet with the operator and; understand his problem, then go back to the men and explain the exact situation. That is the only way that can ever be done; and as long as we sit back, accept no responsibility, let the operator have his way-though he may be influenced and forced to adopt a certain attitude by people whose only connection with the industry is to check their dividend slips occasionally'-we are going to have the situation that now exists.

I should like to see the Minister of Labour get tough, in any way he may consider necessary. We have a definite job to do in Canada. As has been stated many times in this house, civilization is on the brink of destruction. Hitler is not stopped yet, by a long shot. It is going to take everything we have in this country to stop him, so we must get together. We have passed laws giving certain rights to industrial workers. The minister has declared that industrial democracy should be more closely woven into the fabric of our industrial set-up in Canada. If he means that, then I think he should get tough when that becomes necessary. When the workers have followed the legal procedure provided by the government, bad as that procedure is, and hard as it is to follow, the government should step in. That procedure was followed in Kirkland Lake where the workers, after a vote, said, "We want collective bargaining." In this case I think the minister should do what Bevin would do< in the old country; he should tell the operators, "This is democracy. They have voted; they have indicated what they want. They are legitimately entitled to it, so you sit down around a conference table and iron out this matter with your employees, or else." The minister has the machinery to enforce any such order. Wages have been frozen, and the workers must accept that situation. This was done by order in council and must be accepted by the workers, whether they like it or not. In Kirkland Lake, as in every other section of the country where labour is unorganized, the operators are defying the laws of the country; and if the government is not prepared to enforce its own laws, then I think we are headed for destruction.

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LIB

Arthur Wentworth Roebuck

Liberal

Mr. A. W. ROEBUCK (Trinity):

I would like to pay a tribute to the labouring population of this dominion for the way it is carrying on at the present time with reference to our war effort. Last night one hon. member said that he had attended the sittings of this house but so far had learned little. Of course that was his affair; it is sometimes hard to get a bright idea through a dull head. Surely no one could have sat in this house during the last few days, listening to the statements of the ministers, without learning something about what is going on in Canada.

My purpose at the moment is to pay tribute to the men and women who are doing perhaps more than any other class to bring success to British arms. We have enlisted a large army, navy and air force. The growth of our forces in the field is one of the most remarkable things in modern times. But perhaps even greater than our work in the field has been what we have accomplished

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through the cooperation of management and labour in our factories. The statements that have been made indicate that the factories of Canada are now producing as much as fifty-million rounds of small arms ammunition per month, and that in the course of the next few months that output will be trebled. When one considers that the armies of Hitler number only four or five million men, the importance of fifty million rounds per month, as part of Canada's contribution to the munitions of the allies, appears as of very great importance. We are producing more than a million artillery shells per month; we are building heavy artillery; we have launched as many as seventy-seven corvettes, of which we have actually delivered some fifty. We are turning out something like seventy million pounds of explosive per month. The clothing, the food and the supplies that we are sending across to our allies in England and Russia are playing a real part in the world war. I was impressed by the statement that since the commencement of this war Canada has shipped across the ocean and safely landed on the quays of Great Britain as many as 7,000 cargoes to warm the hearts and maintain the courage of our allies in Britain; that as much as 42,500,000 tons of freight has been transported across the sea from the factories and farms of Canada, carried by the shipping of the world, and convoyed in no small part by the Canadian navy.

I emphasize this because people are apt to lay too great stress-though not too great credit-on armed forces alone. My suggestion is that the effort which Canada is putting forth in her factories is even more important than the effort she is putting forth in the field.

In that connection, I wish to pay tribute to the workers of Canada. There is not very much difference between the man who fires off the shell and the man who manufactures it, or the man who turns it in a lathe. Both are necessary to the final result. Perhaps the man who makes the shell is the more important of the two, because it certainly cannot be fired off if it is not made. Anything wihich interrupts our war effort in the factories is a matter of supreme importance to the Canadian people.

I want to say something about the attitude which should be adopted toward labour and the working people. It has been my fortune in the past, as attorney general of Ontario, to control the police forces of that province. I have been minister of labour of Ontario, and I know something about the difficulties which face a minister of labour. I know the forces which are ever driving him to drastic action.

I have forgotten which one of the previous speakers referred to compulsion. He said that in his judgment all the compulsion was against the workers. That was an exaggeration; it has not been quite in line with my experience. It is true that the fixing of wage levels is a very serious action on the part of the government. I shall watch with a great deal of care and interest how it works out. The new rules made by the order in council are to be judged, not in advance by one's imagination but rather in retrospect, after they have been in force for perhaps six months. I say that because their success or failure, their advantage or disadvantage to the worker, will depend in large part upon their administration.

When the freezing of wages was announced I was concerned. I called upon one of the men in the Department of Labour, a very well-informed official of the government, and expressed to him my concern. I said to him, "The government is taking the place of the unions; the government will cripple the organization of the unions, if it proceeds to freeze wages." I got some comfort from this man. He pointed out to me that there are in Canada w'hat he called depressed areas, places where wages are abnormally low. He might have gone farther and said that there are spots all over Canada where wages are altogether too low. He mentioned certain depressed areas in Canada where wages are outrageously low, and recalled the fact that wages generally are based on the lowest wages paid, and that if you can raise the mud sills, you raise the entire structure. He pointed out to me that the new order in council provided for regional boards, with powers of investigation, and fairly wide powers of compulsion in the matter of payment. He expressed the hope that in the comparatively short time in which the legislation would be in effect, it would bring to light conditions which to-day are under cover, and might, he hoped-and I hope, too,-bring about their rectification.

Labour will overlook an opportunity if it does not require the regional boards to make the inquiries permitted by the order in council, and so create a condition whereby wages in the depressed areas will be forced up. It will then become less difficult to raise the wages throughout the country generally when the legislation disappears.

Speaking to some of my unionist friends at a great union meeting in Toronto recently, I said that this was their opportunity, and that if they allowed their organizations to go to pieces on account of paternal legislation at present temporarily in effect, they would do a great disservice to the Canadian people. They

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must hold their organizations now, if ever, and thus prepare for the time when the soldiers will be marching home, and the munitions factories will be emptying their staffs upon the streets.

That will be the testing time of Canadian labour. Labour should be preparing for that day. But we cannot prepare by making extravagant statements. I deplore at this above all times any show of anger. Compulsion has been placed upon labour, it is .true, in connection with the increase of wages. But to my knowledge there has also been compulsion with respect to employers.

I had the honour of being nominated by the running trades of the railroads of Canada, comprising some 125,000 men, to sit on a conciliation board whose duty it was to interpret order in council P.C. 7440. I may confess now that the majority of the board decided against labour, and in favour of the contention offered by the railroads. Naturally I took the side of labour; and I look back with pleasure upon the fact that though the majority of the board had disagreed with me, the government of Canada agreed with me, and settled the matter by order in council. Compulsion was brought upon the railroads, and to-day the railroads are paying the bonus to something like 125,000 railway working men.

Therefore do not let us be too extravagant in our condemnations. May I point out to the committee that probably the toughest job any man in the parliament of Canada has held in the last two years has been that of the Minister of Labour. I believe I may say that sweepingly, because he is dealing with men, not with machines. He is dealing with human beings who react to treatment, and he must be wise in his actions.

We talk about compulsion; I know something about it. I remember when the government of Ontario was pushed into action because people were striking, and sent tanks, barbed wire and machine guns to Stratford, in the quiet province of Ontario. Oh, yes, they suppressed the strike to some extent; but they left a wound in that city and neighbourhood which has not yet healed. The people who were responsible for that despotic action are still looked upon with anger and dislike by the labouring people of this country.

There are those who would like the Minister of Labour for Canada to call upon the police or the soldiery. It was suggested to me that the strike at St. Catharines could have been settled by simply putting in the volunteers. I objected and said, "You do not suggest that in this industrial province of Ontario we should coerce the working people at the point of the bayonet." The answer was, "Why do

you not back up a few buses and carry off the leaders?" These are thoughts that are actually abroad. They are pressed upon the authorities. It is urged that action of that kind be taken.

While there may be criticism here and there, and discussion is good, the fact remains that the Department of Labour of Canada has resisted that policy. So far it has been able to get along, perhaps not one hundred per cent, and our factories in consequence are running, men are working, and products are developed and shipped across the sea. A little conciliation, kindness and understanding, even though that method may be slow, will win in the end as against more drastic methods.

We hear that there are no strikes in England. I noticed in a recent issue of the British Labour Gazette that some 285,000 man-days had been lost in Great Britain in a single month. No such losses have been occasioned here, but of course our population is not so large. Mr. Bevin has said that they have "practically no strikes." By that he means that the situation could be so much worse that a loss of 285,000 man-days is practically nothing. If Mr. Bevin can say that with respect to the labouring classes of Great Britain, our Minister of Labour can say it with much greater force with regard to the working people of the Dominion of Canada. I pay tribute to the patriotic way in which workmen are refusing to discuss minor matters in order that they may not overlook the important ones.

We hear references to compulsion, and I have just one more remark to make. A man is to be judged, not entirely by the things he does, but also by the mistakes he avoids, the things he does not do although tempted to do, the things which he might be forced into doing but resists. In the last few months we had the spectacle of the premier of Ontario bringing the wives and daughters of farmers to act as strike-breakers in Toronto, in order to beat some tomato factory workers in the east end of the city. The plea was made that the tomato crop was being saved, but as a matter of fact what was being saved was an increase of 2J cents an hour to the workers in that factory, and recognition by the employers of the union chosen by those poor people.

Sometimes it is good to make comparisons. In all the stress of this war there has been nothing of that kind to be charged against the Department of Labour of the Dominion of Canada. It has been said that sometimes they are slow, but there is virtue in deliberation.

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Steadily, quietly and sympathetically we have carried on the industry of Canada. We have raised the Canadian contribution to a point that is even greater than that of the United States, if we count out the production of aeroplanes. We are not in position to make many aeroplanes, and, excluding aeroplanes, the munitions of war which we have produced in Canada have been greater than the production of the United States. That is a startling statement, but it is true. It is due to the wisdom with which we are treating labour, to the hope which labour has of better things in the future and to the patriotism of working people.

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Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

Before the minister makes his statement, I should like to draw his attention to a rather disconcerting statement which appeared in the press. I do this because as Minister of Labour he is responsible for the protection of the working classes of this country and because he represents the constituency in this house in which Windsor is located. I quote from the Montreal Gazette of November 11, as follows:

Windsor, Ontario, November 10-Job seekers cannot get work in Windsor factories unless they have obligated themselves to subscribe "for a fair proportion" of war savings certificates, according to Donald W. McGregor, chairman of the local war weapons committee.

He said that Windsor is confident it will go over the top in the present drive to gain subscribers for wrar savings certificates and termed "an ace in the hole" the fact that unless job seekers can show badges showing them to be subscribers they cannot get work.

The minister said something about being opposed to compulsion, but this certainly is the most discriminatory form of compulsion. For the last two years when the budget was brought down this group asked the government to institute a compulsory non-interest bearing loan. The government refused to do this upon the ground that it did not desire to use compulsion and levy upon the basis of ability to pay, but preferred to finance the war by means of voluntary contributions, not upon the basis of an ability to pay but upon the basis of a person's sense of patriotism and responsibility. According to this article there has been a conscription of wealth, but conscription from those earning the least.

I have no reason to believe that the action mentioned in this article is not being carried out. Mr. McGregor, the gentleman in charge of the war weapons committee, must be a fairly reputable citizen, and he would hardly give this statement to the press unless it were correct. If we are to use this bludgeon upon the workers and say that they cannot get jobs

unless they are prepared to pledge what he calls a fair proportion of their wages to purchase war savings certificates, then the working groups in the city of Windsor are not being adequately protected. I wish the minister would give some attention to this. He may care to say something about it when he is making his general remarks.

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LIB

Hugh Bathgate McKinnon

Liberal

Mr. McKINNON (Kenora-Rainy River):

When the minister is making his statement I wish he would endeavour to give us a review of the youth training scheme and how it has worked out. A ceiling has been placed upon salaries and wages and upon what is paid to men in executive positions, and I should like to know why professional fees have not been included.

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SC

Frederick Davis Shaw

Social Credit

Mr. SHAW:

I should like to have some information from the minister as to the division of authority as between the provincial government and the federal government in connection with the enforcement of conditions of employment, hours of labour, rates of pay and so on as they affect contractors carrying on federal government work in the provinces.

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LIB

Norman Alexander McLarty (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. McLARTY:

Mr. Chairman, I think the last two statements, while they were most brief, involve a wider discussion than almost anything else that has been said in this debate. It was my thought, and I think it was that of the committee generally, that after I had made my statement questions might quite properly be asked. I suppose it is an entirely unusual and improper attitude for a minister to take to say that he has been rather disappointed that more questions have not been asked.

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CCF
LIB

Norman Alexander McLarty (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. McLARTY:

I shall be very glad, if they are asked later. Perhaps I should make a statement, not too detailed, in connection with some of the observations that have been made. My statement will require to be less detailed on account of the address of the hon. member for Trinity, who dealt with some of the observations that I propose to make.

I would say this, that speaking generally, I cannot help paying definite tribute to labour in this country for the splendid manner in which they are carrying on their war effort. That is illustrated by the figures we have, strike figures for the month of October. These figures show that in that month we had fewer strikes than we have had in any month for some years. I think perhaps they may rival any in the history of this country. I should like to place them on record because

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The War-Labour

they are, I believe, impressive. There were- and I am speaking from recollection-in the month of October, 750 men on strike, and the number of man-days lost was fewer than 1,500. This means less than two days per man for each man who was involved in a labour dispute. If that is resolved into terms of percentages, the percentage would be so small in relation to the total working population that it would be almost ridiculous to discuss it. I mention that figure again for this reason. It is a tribute not only to the working people of Canada but to those who are the responsible labour leaders in this country.

It has been suggested that in orders in council which this government has passed where penalties have been involved, we have put the penalties against labour but not against industry. In order that that question might receive consideration from this committee I have had a statement prepared. In the nine orders in council which we have passed since the war started, two provide penalties for both employers and employees, six for employers only, and only one for employees only.

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CCF
LIB

November 14, 1941