May 19, 1942

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Mrv BLAIR:

Mr. Chairman, I do not rise to criticize the minister; I rise to congratulate him upon his wonderful power of endurance. I do not see the necessity of our sitting here and listening to all the nonsense which we have been hearing too long already. In my opinion a party which has denounced for years all war expenditure and every preparation for war, which has declared that not a single man or a solitary dollar should be devoted to the defence of the British empire, and made other statements of the same kind, should rise now to proclaim the entire inefficiency of the war effort of the Canadian people.

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NAT
LIB

John Knox Blair

Liberal

Mr. BLAIR:

Nor do I think that the Tories of Toronto should send up written speeches to be read in this chamber. We are sick and tired of this kind of thing. I say, if you want to say something get up and say it and don't be reading your speeches. The ruling was given a while ago that speeches should not be read, but the practice still goes on.

Most hon. members are in sympathy with the government. I appreciated the remarks of the hon. member for St. Paul's (Mr. Ross) in which he expressed sympathy for the Minister of Munitions and Supply. He suggested that the minister should be given time and opportunity to do his work. What time is left to him when he has to sit here day after day listening to speeches? Do you think, Mr. Chairman, that he is helped by the talk which we have had during the last three or four days? It is utter nonsense. I think too that some consideration should be given by the speakers to other hon. members who are busy men, men with their own work to do at home, men employed outside this house in many and various ways. Have we to sit here listening to all these foolish speeches at this critical time of war, when all of us are needed in our homes and in our own districts to carry on

with the work of this country? Are we to be held here day after day by such nonsensical speeches as we have been listening to?

I do not wish to criticize exclusively hon. members on the opposition side. There is a section of our own party of which we are heartily ashamed; I wish some of them were here so that I could not be accused of talking about them behind their backs. I admit that they are a nuisance; they are a fly in the ointment.

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LIB

Thomas Vien (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

I am afraid that a remark of that kind may be offensive to hon. members, and I would ask the hon. member to refrain from such expressions.

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LIB
LIB

Thomas Vien (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

I do not believe that it is in order for the hon. member to say that speeches by other hon. members are nonsensical.

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LIB

John Knox Blair

Liberal

Mr. BLAIR:

I will withdraw that statement, and say that if there is any sense in them I cannot see it. Maybe I am a little dense, but I could not see anything sensible in the remarks of a lot of the speakers. They are appealing to the minister to get on with his work and at the same time they are detaining him with speeches that have no value.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

At the risk of offending the hon. member for Wellington North (Mr. Blair), I wish to make one or two observations with regard to an interjection by the hon.

War Appropriation-Supplies

member for Wood Mountain (Mr. Donnelly) when the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Maclnnis) was discussing the necessity for a greater mobilization and organization of the country's industrial capacity. I make this comment now for the reason that when any member in this house or anyone outside the house seeks to drive a wedge between the armed forces and the industrial workers, such person, in my opinion, comes directly under the defence of Canada regulations wherein it is stated that such an offence shall be punishable by internment-any offence that causes disaffection in his majesty's forces. When a member begins making comparisons between the rates of pay received by soldiers and the rates of pay received by the industrial workers, and makes such comparisons in the way in which they have been made, that sort of thing creates friction, dissension and a great deal of misunderstanding. What prompts me to make this statement now is the observation of the hon. member for Wood Mountain in comparing the rates paid to miners with those received by the armed forces, and he takes the low rate of $1.30 a day paid to soldiers. I know a little about both the army and the miners and their rates of pay. I drew the lowest rate of pay in the army and did the dirtiest jobs that could be done there, both behind the lines and at the front. I have also been a miner. I wish, therefore, to make this brief observation, that when an hon. member makes the bald statement that the soldier is working for $1.30 a day while the miner is paid $7 or $10 a day, such a statement is absolutely misleading and not in accordance with the facts, and it is time somebody clarified it in the interests of the general public. The miner's basic rate in the industry in Nova Scotia is $3.70 a day, and in OTder to get that $3.70 he has to crawl out of bed at five o'clock in the morning. To earn $22 a week he has to work six days a week, and to earn $1,154.40 a year he has to work six days a week every week of the year. That is the basic, the low rate paid in the industry. According to a table put on the record by the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) on April 28, the rate to which reference was made by the hon. member for Wood Mountain is set out, and if one takes the $1.30 a day allowances and so on, in a year the soldier earns SI,547.50 with allowances for two children. That is the lowest amount paid in the army, if one takes allowances into account. I know of no industrial worker who is working on a datal rate who earns that amount of money.

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LIB
CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

There is no "oh" about it. Anywhere it will be found that on piece work CMr. Gillis.l

they are paid more than that. I am talking, however, about the lowest rate paid, the basic datal rate, and an examination of the earnings of industrial workers prior to the outbreak of the war will show that the average was somewhat under $1,000 a year.

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An hon. MEMBER:

Away below that.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

It was under $1,000. I am speaking from memory and it is some time since I saw the figures. I am not suggesting that the soldier is paid enough; I certainly know that his dependents are not getting what they should. But as I have heard the matter discussed in this house, I know that it is driving a wedge between the armed forces and those who have to produce to keep the forces in the field, without which production they are absolutely helpless.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport; Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

I do not like to doubt my hon. friend. I am the one who said "oh," because I did not understand what he said. He said that no man working for wages was getting as much as $1,500.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

I am speaking of the fixed,

datal rate. Where a man gets so much an hour and works sixteen hours a day the wages run up. Take the miner who cuts, shoots and loads the coal and who is paid on the basis of 69 cents a ton in Nova Scotia, which is the lowest rate paid for cutting, shooting and loading coal. Forty per cent of the men employed in the mining industry do this kind of work.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport; Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

The ordinary shipyard worker gets 75 cents an hour.

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CCF
CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

What is an ordinary

shipyard worker?

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport; Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Shipyard mechanics.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

They are not ordinary

shipyard workers.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport; Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Who is the ordinary shipyard worker-the boy who carries the water?

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May 19, 1942