It is being enforced since June 19. What does the hon. member for Labelle think of our contingents posted in Newfoundland, the Caribbean and Jamaica. Let us not delude ourselves; it is being enforced. The hon. member for Montreal-St. Mary condemns conscription after having voted for it when section 3 of the mobilization act was dropped and he still approves of it when he supports the policies of the present government. Let those who have deprived our farmers of their help bear their own responsibility. I shall have done my duty in this house; that is all.
(Text). Mr. MacNICOL: Mr. Chairman,
after listening to what I may describe as a burlesque if that is parliamentary, for almost forty minutes, I wonder if those who listen to us believe that we really know there is a war on and that a great many of our brothers and kin are dying or at least fighting for us overseas, offering their lives to save civilization and Canada besides. The Minister of Labour has a most arduous and difficult task in trying to obtain the men to provide the munitions for our boys overseas, and I for one want to help him get on with this work.
I shall speak only briefly. I have no apologies for speaking in this debate. I represent no fewer than 45,000 to 50,000 honest-to-goodness industrious, harcLworking men and women engaged in the great factories in the riding of Davenport, and I would feel that I was not doing my duty if I did not say a word or two on this subject.
I want to help the minister as much as I can. When he was appointed Minister of Labour I expressed my strong approval, for whatever faults he may have-I am not going to talk about his faults-he is at least a labour man. He has served in the ranks of labour and in industry and ought to be as well qualified as any man to hold the position he occupies.
There is a great man-power problem; there is no question about that, and the Minister of Labour knows that better than any other member of the house. The Minister of Munitions and Supply said just a few days ago that he could place 40,000 men in industry. That was an arbitrary figure. He might have meant 60,000 more or less. In any event there is a man-power problem. I should like to make it easier for the minister. I have been in industry and labour most of my working life and know something about operating industry and about working in plants. There are several ways in which industry can be speeded up, and I shall speak only of industry. Others have spoken of other callings in which our citizens are engaged and have advanced arguments as to why more men should be made available in those callings. But I confine myself to industry.
Production can be increased in four ways. First, by speeding up the machinery in the plants. I do not know whether that would be advisable under present conditions because many of the folks working in industry are elderly and many others are young. The most experienced men and the more physically fit are not all in industry, but countless thousands have joined the armed forces, so that I doubt very much whether speeding up the machines
would increase production. It would probably do an>
injury to the two classes I have mentioned.
The second way to speed up would be for man-power to speed up, but I doubt whether you can do much there. The youths working in the plants are not experienced enough to speed up, and the elderly men are past their day for speeding up. I am afraid that an endeavour to speed up man-power would mean more accidents, and one can see by reading the papers and looking over the lists of those drawing compensation that there are too many accidents now.
The third method by which we can increase production is by reducing absenteeism. This is a much greater problem than perhaps many of us realize. The minister is not to blame for absenteeism. I do not know that he can do anything to reduce it. But there is altogether too much absenteeism. A gentleman told me when I was home last, and he is a man who should know, that in the plant where he was, at least 10 per cent of the possible productivity of the plant was lost through absenteeism. I asked him for the reason, and he said that if the workmen worked six days a week or put in a full week they received so much pay and had to pay so much income tax. But if they worked only four or five days a week no tax was deducted from their pay cheques, and they felt, "We might better take a holiday than work because we shall be just as far ahead. If we work another day we shall have the tax to pay." How that is to be overcome I do not know. I see the minister nods his head; he recognizes that it is a problem, and he deserves the sympathy and advice of anyone who can give him advice on how to reduce absenteeism. Perhaps the Minister of Finance could so adjust workmen's tax matters that the Minister of Labour would have a chance to work his whole labour organization to the limit. That is one way by which productivity can be increased.
The fourth method is to get more workers. I do not know how that can be done. I assume the government is trying to obtain all the workers it can. If every riding in Canada had enrolled as great a percentage as has Davenport in the army and industry there might be another million available. Why are they not enrolled everywhere? I do not offer any comment. It is not my duty to say where workers can be got. But the fact is that nearly everybody in my riding has been enrolled in one form or another, including many who should not have been called upon. When I was home last I went to see a young man
who has flat feet, a weak back, and is otherwise physically unfit; yet he had a paper- the second one-summoning him to appear for enrolment.
Well, he had been down and was classed as C2, but he told me that they were calling him again, even though he had formerly been classified in a non-military category. This man operates with his mother a pressing and cleaning parlour. For the life of me I cannot understand why such men are called to serve either in the army or anywhere else. Even if the pressing and cleaning business is a non-war work, somebody has to look after the mother and somebody has to pay taxes to keep the war machine going. This man is only one of several with whom I have come in contact, and whom I could name, who are in a like situation. It is a big problem, and I know that, under the circumstances in which they are working, the department have their hands full to deal with it.
I read last evening in one of the newspapers a dispatch from Fredericton of June 22, which is in part as follows:
Claims knot in man-power Ottawa fault Could have avoided muddle by adopting total war plan years ago, says legion head
Fredericton, June 22-If the dominion government had accepted the Canadian Legion's plan for "total war" three years ago, Canada would not be handicapped at present by a "terrible man-power muddle," declared Alex Walker, national president of the legion, in addressing the annual convention of the legion's New Brunswick command to-day.
I am not so conversant with the situation as to know all that President Walker knows. He is only one of a number, including my own leader, who have stated that there is a manpower muddle. This has been denied by hon. members on the other side. Anyway the problem is of major magnitude, and I feel it my duty not to throw fuel on the fire or cause any trouble that I can avoid. I would rather help in some way or another to solve the difficulty.
I have thought a long time that some way should be found of eliminating strikes. I am not finding fault with those who strike, or with the employers of the strikers. There must be faults on both sides. Labour is not wholly to blame; industry, certainly, is not all to blame. I have been wondering whether the minister during the recess, when the rest of us are away, would call a parliament of industry and labour. Perhaps if it were brought together in this chamber, it could
help to solve the problem. Let leaders of industry and labour talk back and forth across the floor, and let the minister, his officers and his departmental heads try to bring these two great classes together, at least until the termination of the war. The winning of the war is so huge a task that not an hour should be lost in any factory, mine, or elsewhere; every man or woman should be working to the extent of his or her capabilities. How are we to get them to do that unless we eliminate the causes of trouble between them? I regard with considerable admiration Senator Wagner, of the United States, a great representative of labour who did an outstanding job in that country. I like particularly the preamble of the so-called Wagner act, which reads:
An act to diminish the causes of labour disputes burdening or obstructing interstate and foreign commerce, to create a national labour relations board and for other purposes.
I have heard, although I am not familiar with the facts, that a national labour board has been set up in this country; if not, perhaps a board of this kind on the United States model might be helpful to us. That is not to say that the United States is free from strikes. But it is well to remember that, with their vast population, they have difficulties which we in Canada do not have to meet. We have our own problems; they have theirs. Perhaps all of us, working together, might succeed in removing causes of friction at any rate until the war ends.
Section 1 of the Wagner act reads:
The denial by employers of the right of employees to organize and the refusal of employers to accept the procedure of collective bargaining lead to strikes and other forms of industrial strife and unrest, which have the intent or necessary effect of burdening or obstructing commerce.
These words are absolutely true. We have not a collective bargaining act applicable to all Canada. Some of the provinces, I understand, are enacting such legislation. But would it not be a great deal better if the federal labour department provided a form of collective bargaining act which would be suitable to all the provinces? I cannot see any objection to collective bargaining, and I worked for many years in a big industry. Certainly the grievances of the employees would be voiced a little more emphatically. Apparently labour is stirred with the desire for collective bargaining. It is enforced in the United States and elsewhere; the Ontario government has passed a collective bargaining act; why should we not have similar legislation applicable to all Canada? If industry is not freed from the threat of strikes and workmen are not freed
from the necessity of going on strike, I cannot see much hope that this country will increase its productivity.
An increased productivity should be the main objective. Certainly when men are contented there are fewer accidents in factories, and when they are discontented there are more. I ought to know because I have spent many years in association with workers in factories. When men are receiving a fair return for a fair day's work and adequate rest periods they are not likely to cause trouble. Many factories, recognizing this fact, have such rest periods, and I suggest that it should be the practice throughout the country. There should be a rest period in the forenoon and again in the afternoon. Some factories serve tea to their workers and there are no labour difficulties there. Everyone is satisfied. Naturally the workmen in other factories, observing this, and not enjoying the same privilege themselves, become dissatisfied.
I urge the Minister of Labour to take this point seriously into consideration. I have confidence in him, and I may tell him that I have not had confidence in some other Ministers of Labour. I have confidence in men who know about labour at first hand, but I have little confidence in those whose knowledge of labour and labour conditions is purely theoretical, because there is a great deal of difference between knowing something as a result of reading it in a book and knowing the same thing as a result of practical experience. I suggest to the minister that it would be a very good thing if he would try to bring about throughout the country such conditions as I have mentioned.
Why should there not be a rest period, morning and afternoon? Experience shows that men and women who enjoy such a period do better work. Employers who give their employees rest periods assure me that the workers, both men and women, produce more. But it seems to take some people a long time to learn the importance of fair and honest treatment of men and women working in industry. Just as the management would like to be treated if positions were reversed, so should the people working under them be treated. That is one suggestion I offer the minister.
And now one further word before I conclude. I do not know whether there is a man-power muddle, but all the authorities seem to say that there is. Boards here and there, annual meetings, conventions and so on are all discussing the man-power problem
^and talking about the muddle. But that [DOT]'does not help the minister at all. What is wanted is something practical that will give him real assistance. That is imperative, and I will close with this remark about the threatening coal emergency. Do the Canadian people realize what will be staring them in the face three or four months hence? The weather is hot now and it will be for two or three months more, but about the middle of September people will [DOT]certainly want coal, and it is no use telling them that they will have to do without heat. Tf they cannot heat their houses, they will Slave to call in the doctor and health will be impaired all round.
The question of course is, what can we do to help the minister to obtain men to send to the coal mines. In this connection I may remark that the member for Cape Breton South (Mr. Gillis), in my opinion, made a fair speech the other day. He strikes me as being a sane labour man, the kind I hope I am myself. I have been identified with labour for many years, and the fact that the hon. member and I are of different parties is neither here nor there, so long as our intentions are for the good of the country. We are all Canadians when our lives are threatened, not only overseas but by a shortage of coal.
I wish I knew some way in which I could help the minister to provide men to produce the coal we must have. It certainly is a problem. I notice the following press dispatch dated Winnipeg, June 24, under the heading, "Coal Dealers Plead for Aid-Ask Mitchell Draft Men on Compulsory Basis." This dispatch states:
Labour minister Mitchell has been asked by the coal dealers of Winnipeg to draft men on a compulsory basis to handle deliveries here.
That is merely deliveries, so that it is getting very serious if we have trouble not only in production but at the delivery end. The dispatch states further:
Dealers in greater Winnipeg are reduced to skeleton staffs and utterly unable to make deliveries to thousands of consumers who have ordered fuel.
That does present a grave problem, and I only wish I knew how I could help the minister. I want to see him succeed and overcome the difficulties with which he is now faced. There is a huge man-power problem before us. Whether it is a muddle or anything else, the problem is there, and if I have said anything that will help him in the slightest degree I shall consider myself repaid.
The statement which has been distributed shows a total of $21,558,192 as the Department of Labour's portion of the war appropriation, and the first item of $36,882 covers the coordination of ship loading and unloading operations at the port of Halifax. I do not wish to deal with these estimates in a general way; I want to speak to this item alone, as it has to do with that particular activity in the port of Halifax, because I am interested in learning what has taken place in connection with the loading and unloading of supplies for overseas.
I recall that when Mr. Justice Thorson was chairman of the special committee on war expenditures he wrote all members of parliament asking for suggestions as to what might be undertaken by his committee, and on that occasion I replied as follows:
In reply to your letter of March 15 addressed to the members, requesting suggestions as to any subject that might usefully be inquired into by your committee, I feel from perusal of the names of the members composing your committee that careful study will be made from every possible angle as to the expenditures for the defence services and for other services directly connected with the war. But I feel that your reference also extends to the probabilities and possibilities of methods whereby savings can be effected, and with this in view, I wish to place before your committee the question of investigating the most direct and advantageous route from which to ship supplies between Canada and Great Britain.
I believe that, if any moneys are to be expended to increase facilities to handle the supplies in the quickest possible manner, said expenditures should be made at a port which can give full service for the entire 365 days of the year. I think, on investigation, you will find that the port of Halifax is the shortest route both to London and to Liverpool; and, as this port is open the year round, and is considered one of the finest, if not the finest, harbour in the world, every facility should be provided to prevent any bottleneck existing that would slow up shipment of supplies that are so badly needed.
We know of the demand for planes, guns, ammunition and supplies, and we know that the production of all these is being speeded to the highest possible point; but there is a question in the minds of many as to whether as much consideration has been given to the transportation problem, both by rail and -water, as is necessary; and it is because of this that I feel that your committee would be justified in going into the matter quite fully, with a view to recommending to the government that added facilities should be made on both the western side of the harbour as well as the eastern, and that a certain amount of goods should be switched at Waverley junction and brought into the Dartmouth side so as to avoid any congestion which might otherwise exist on the Halifax side of the harbour.
I also believe it comes under the jurisdiction of your committee to look into the question of speedy dispatch of ships, and facilities for the repairs of these ships, so as not to unduly delay their departure. You have on your committee men who are familiar with the questions both of ships and repairs and the necessary facilities to expedite speedy handling of goods, and I would respectfully suggest that a subcommittee be set up to inquire into and report on this important phase of our war activities.
That letter is signed by myself. I brought this matter to the attention of the committee because I felt it to' be important, and I considered that it should be given attention in order that supplies to our troops overseas might be speeded up. I also wanted to impress upon the committee that Halifax was the shortest and quickest route for the shipment of our supplies to Britain. I recalled at the time that a question had been placed on the order paper by the hon. member for Victoria-Carleton (Mr. Hatfield) as to the average sailing time of a sixteen-knot vessel from the port of London to three eastern Canadian ports. In reply, the following information was given. It would take such a vessel 203 hours to go from London to Montreal, 182 hours to go from London to Saint John and 172 hours to go from London to Halifax. So that by shipping goods from Halifax to London there would be a saving of thirty-one hours as compared with the port of Montreal.
I believe the present minister must have had that in mind, because when he took over his duties he visited Halifax where he met the longshoremen and went into the matter of the loading and unloading of goods, the turning of ships and the dispatch of ships in order to bring about speedier handling of goods. As an outcome of his investigation he put through order in council P.C. 3511, dated April 30, 1942, under which he was given authority to appoint a controller of loading operations. The order in council also outlined the duties of the controller and gave him authority to give proper direction as to how the work was tp be carried on; to decide any disputes arising in connection with such action; to conduct a registration of longshoremen, and so on. Then the longshoremen of the port of Halifax, a very fine body of men numbering some 1,500, were requested to take in an additional 600 men. to be known as temporary longshoremen. The order in council also set out the procedure to be followed in making orders for working at night and on holidays. The controller was to recommend to the minister any changes or improvement in shipbuilding methods and facilities which might bring about more speedy or better methods of handling goods.
Another matter which was covered in thi8, and which the minister took up at the time he was in Halifax, was the method of hiring individuals. The new method was set out in the order in council, and it is for that reason that I wish to inquire from the minister as to the results brought about by the order in council, and as to whether the port controller, and the new system which has been inaugurated, are bringing about the results the minister desired in that connection.
I should point out that Halifax is one of those ports which come under the control of the national harbours board, and I believe it is the only port under their control which shows a net operating surplus. For instance, last year the port of Montreal showed a deficit of SI,734,429.42; the port of Quebec showed a deficit of $1,561,53222; Saint John showed a deficit of $243,039.52, while Halifax showed a net operating surplus of $232,436.91.
I believe the size of the port at Halifax is well known. Hon. members will be familiar with the fact that it is a fine harbour, and today it is one of the busiest ports in the world. The safety in which ships can sail in and out of the harbour, and the speedy manner in which ships of any size can dock, are points worthy of consideration. I recall, for instance, that when in 1939 the king and queen were leaving Canada they sailed from the port of Halifax, on the Empress of Britain. Since that time the Empress of Britain has been lost. But that large ship of 36,000 tons was able to leave the dock and make a complete turn in the harbour without the assistance of any tugs whatsoever.
These are points which must be considered not only by the Minister of Labour but by the Minister of Munitions and Supply when they are issuing directions as to how supplies are to be sent overseas. This afternoon the hon, member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) raised the question of invasion. I do not know how quickly that will take place, but it is certainly being talked about at the present time. Undoubtedly when it does take place reinforcements will be needed; added supplies of food will have to be sent overseas, and munitions and other types of supplies will be required in large quantities. These must be handled in the fastest possible way, and that is the reason why I bring to the attention of the Minister of Labour these points respecting Halifax harbour.
Halifax is a very busy seaport. Not only has the population of the city increased by something like 30,000 or 35,000, apart from the armed forces, but industries have shown
a marked increase in their number of employees. For instance, the Halifax shipyards, on the Halifax side showed an increase in 1942 over 1941 of 147-93 per cent. Their branch in Dartmouth, on the eastern side of the harbour, showed an increase of 67-71 per cent in the number of employees. The Halifax dockyard, where our ships of war are refitted, has increased the number of employees to such an extent that last year it showed an increase of 148-4 per cent. Clarke Ruse Limited of Dartmouth showed an increase of 102-39 per cent. These four companies alone showed an average increase of something like 91-60 per cent increase in the number of employees.
I was surprised the other evening to hear the hon. member for Broadview (Mr. Church) speak of the railways of Canada in the manner in which he did. We who come from the eastern section of Canada are familiar with the efficient manner in which the Canadian National Railways in particular have handled freight going into Halifax. They have made a wonderful showing ini handling goods, and in having a sufficient number of ships at hand to take care of the goods brought to the port by the railways.
To give some idea of the business carried on in Halifax I would point out that the revenue for that port last year was $1,832,318, as against $1,593,479 in 1941, or an increase in revenue of the national harbours board of $238,839. These figures will serve to show the volume of goods being shipped through that port.
There is one other indication of the amount of business being done at Halifax, namely, the amount of freight handled, as shown in the report of the Canadian National Railways for 1942, under the heading of "operating revenue in respect of freight." For 1942 the figure is $284,427,334.25, as against $236,519,309.12 in 1941, or an increase in handling of freight by the Canadian National Railways of $47,906,025.13. I would not say that this increase is made up entirely in the eastern section of Canada, or the Atlantic region, but a great part of it is. The Atlantic region is particularly busy.
I would ask the minister to outline to the committee just what action he is taking, and the results brought about at the port of Halifax in regard to the handling of supplies, as provided in this particular item. Last year there was an amount of $28,600 set forth for loading and unloading ships. This year the amount is $36,882, or an increase of $8,282. While the minister is giving information as to the steps taken by his depart-
ment since he took over his duties as Minister of Labour, perhaps he would also let us know something about the floating equipment at the port of Halifax, as to who owns it, the manner in which it is rented out, and the revenue derived therefrom. I might say for the benefit of hon. members that prior to 1939 both incoming and outgoing freight was handled over our piers. These are fine and well-equipped piers, and they have the proper facility to handle supplies both incoming and outgoing. But on account of the exceptionally large amount of goods for shipment overseas it was necessary tc bring in certain floating equipment. It is in connection with the floating equipment I would ask the minister to give us some information. How is this new scheme working out? What is the amount of goods handled by it, and the revenue derived therefrom?
I should like the minister to give particulars of the appointment of the port controller which was covered by the order in council. Could the minister give us his name and the name of any assistants who have been brought in to handle freight at Halifax? Are they carrying on their duties satisfactorily?
I said that I did not intend to deal with this general item but rather to confine my remarks to item No. 1. I do this because I want definite information in regard to this item, and I was hoping that we might get started on this one item and then go on to the others in an orderly manner, thus saving considerable time and enabling the minister to answer our questions in an intelligent way. That cannot be done when we jump all around as we have been doing. I would appreciate it if the minister could give me this information in regard to these men and whether they have brought about any improvement in the condition there.
In reply to the senior hon. member from Halifax, I would say that just over a year ago when great shipping losses were occurring and there was an urgent need to turn ships around in Halifax as quickly as possible, I visited that port and discussed the whole matter with the longshoremen's organization. Arising out of my visit, arrangements were made for the setting up of a hiring hall and the passing of an order in council regulating the loading and unloading of ships. This has resulted in a tremendous increase in the tonnage handled by the port of Halifax. A controller was appointed, the dean of the law school of Dalhousie university, Mr. Vincent MacDonald, who is now assistant deputy minister of labour, and later Captain R. G. Perchard took over his duties. Mr. JUNE 25, 1943
C. W. Train of Vancouver was engaged as special consultant and Captain W. F. Spring was appointed as loading superintendent. After consultation with the union we appointed
D. C. Reid, H. W. MacLeod and F. R. Penny as dispatchers in connection with the new set-up.
I have known the heads of the longshoremen's union for many years. I addressed them when I was there in Halifax. I told them that any amendments which it might be found necessary to make to their agreement would be cancelled at the conclusion of the war. In the organization of this undertaking I think tribute should be paid to Mr. Joseph Ryan, international president of the longshoremen's union in New York, which is the parent organization of the longshoremen in Halifax. I do not need to tell the committee that the longshoreman's work is much like that of a miner. It is a hazardous occupation. In some respects it is a highly skilled occupation, because it takes skill to stow a ship so that she will not capsize when she encounters weather in the open sea.
In addition to the arrangements that have been made already, we intend to set up a labour pool of about 750 men in Halifax in addition to the longshoremen who are at present engaged there. This will be a mobile labour pool for use in other vocations or callings and in the loading and unloading of ships in other ports when it is needed. The suggestion was received by the labour department from certain quarters that we should use army labour battalions as is being done in the United States, but we felt it would be better to develop this pool on a civilian basis. The men are to be paid the regular union rates of wages. Housing accommodation will also be provided. I want to make it clear to hon. members that this pool will not be used in the loading and unloading of ships until the men in the organization at Halifax have been given an opportunity to go to work.
As I said, the pool will be used in emergencies, when there are no other men to load and unload ships at Halifax or any other port. These 750 men are to be given a guaranteed work week of forty-eight hours, which I believe is the standard union week in that community. It should be pointed out of course that they will have to be available for work in order to get the forty-eight hour guarantee. This is somewhat similar to the arrangement that exists in Great Britain. I do not need to tell the committee how important it is to turn ships around in Canadian ports under present conditions. A speed-up of your turn-around is equivalent to building ships, and building
them in a much more simple manner than on the slips. The British people have had a similar situation in their country.
Perhaps I could give another instance. When the Germans and Italians were defeated in Tunisia it was estimated that that was equivalent to 2,000,000 tons of shipping. Anyone who has had experience with shipbuilding will appreciate the benefit we have derived from that defeat. By turning ships around faster in our eastern seaports we are in effect build-ihg ships but, what is more important, it will be of untold benefit to the fighting forces of this country on account of the possible developments that are shaping up in Europe.
I believe we will receive the same degree of cooperation from the longshoremen in Halifax in connection with this new undertaking that we received when the original order was passed which made possible the establishment of a hiring hall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Labour, on the staff of which members of the executive board of the longshoremen's union were appointed to assist in the work.
It is breaking new ground in this dominion, facing up to the labour supply problem in one of our vital industries. Recently in the coal mining situation we made certain guarantees to coal miners who were transferred from their present jobs back to the mines. May I just say in passing that I do not underestimate the magnitude of the problem that confronts us. It is one that would strike fear into the hearts of many men. It is the kind of problem that one cannot solve by running away from it; one has to stay with the ship. I am convinced that if the Department of Labour and selective service are given the chance to organize this thing on a basis on which I think it can be organized, we will amaze this country within the next six months with the progress that we shall be able to make in the allocation of man-power and the solution of the man-power problem generally.
If my hon. friend goes back to Halifax in the near future, I want him to thank the longshoremen of his community for the minister and, I am sure, for the government of this country for the cooperation they have shown in this very important work.
They are both. They will be paid the longshoremen's wage, which is higher than the freight handlers' wage.
Mr. O'NEILL: Mr. Chairman, in rising to take part in this debate on the estimates of the Minister of Labour, my mind goes back to a year and a half ago when the minister was first appointed to his present portfolio. As a labour man I had long advocated that the portfolio of Minister of Labour should be filled by a labour man. All labour men advocated that. A great many of our best industrialists also realized that there would be better conditions if the man who headed the Department of Labour understood labour conditions, and they approved his appointment. As a matter of fact, most of the large industries and newspapers of this country approved the appointment of the Hon. Humphrey Mitchell as Minister of Labour.
But the minister, even before he had been elected, started to run into opposition, and after he was elected the opposition became very acute. We can recall an hon. gentleman rising in his place in this house not so many weeks ago, a man who was supposed to be one of the representatives of labour, and demanding the resignation of the Minister of Labour. I do not know how labour people or any class of people can think that a man is going to be able to give his best in a portfolio under circumstances and conditions of that kind.
Let me say that the present Minister of Labour has the toughest portfolio in the whole government at the present time. In addition to that, I believe that his is the most important portfolio. We have to have finance, certainly, and the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) is doing a wonderful job in producing the finances to run this war and run the country. But his financing would not be of very much use without labour. The same remark applies to the Department of Defence. All branches of the defence department are doing a magnificent job. I do not think any department of defence in any other country is doing any better job than Canada is doing in proportion to her population and the opportunities which have been given to her in the fighting zone. But what use would her army be if it were not for the great army of labourers who produce the engines of war and the foodstuffs that are required?
The Minister of Labour has been criticized on account of his labour policy, or lack of policy. It seems to me that the strength of the submission that t'he minister has made can best be measured by the criticism that he is receiving. The criticism that he is receiving most since he made his submission is that he used the expression that no better method can be found. I cannot say
that I agree with that 100 per cent; but if that were the only thing I could find to criticize in his statement, I would not bother criticizing it. We find labour troubles in other countries, shortages of labour, shortages of man-power. Recently in Australia there was a vote of non-confidence in the government. By the way, they have a labour government, and I think it is doing a good job. Labour troubles and labour shortages are the natural consequences of war, and on this issue the government of Australia was saved from defeat by only one vote. If those things can happen over there with a labour government, I do not think we have anything to be ashamed of if people criticize the labour department here on account of shortages.
I wish to congratulate the Minister of Labour upon the excellent report he presented to parliament and upon the able manner in which he presented it. I have been a member of organized labour for over forty years, and I want to say this to the labour men of this country. Labour probably will play the greatest part of any body of our people in this country in the post-war period, provided, of course, that we do not allow the labour organizations to be destroyed, either from without or from within, by listening to selfish men who, by reason of personal ambition, wish to see their own particular labour organization go up to the top. Mind you, Mr. Chairman, that is a creditable ambition, but it should not be carried so far as to destroy the very thing labour organizations are trying to do. Labour organizations, however, can also be destroyed from the outside by selfish industrialists who do not and will not try to understand labour. They may be successful in destroying labour. But before we permit anything like that to be done, I think we should allow our minds to go back to some of the events which occurred prior to this war. Germany, in so far as the organization of labour is concerned, was one of the most highly organized countries in the world just before Hitler's rise to power. Hitler realized that he could not bring about the conditions which exist in Germany to-day unless he could first destroy organized labour. There were in that country industrialists who could not and would not understand labour. Hitler went along with them to destroy the trades unions, and he made a complete job of it. His next move was to destroy his erstwhile friends the industrialists; he called in the armed forces of the country to aid him against the industrialists, and the industrialists as such were completely destroyed. He then made a purge of the army and shot every general who did not agree with him. He thus became the
king-pin. Labour in this country, Great Britain and the other democracies is playing the same role to-day as in the years gone by, and if it
is destroyed it will be a bad day for the country.
Did the hon. member say that labour was organized in this country?
Mr. O'NEILL: No, absolutely not. Probably 15 to 20 per cent is organized in this country; I do not think the percentage is higher than that. But I am speaking of the principle of organization, not the extent to which it has gone in this country. I am sorry that it is not organized.
Mr. O'NEILL: I know, but the great major, ity of the workers are not. However, I do not think that interjections of that kind tend to help a speaker. So far as I am concerned, while other hon. members are speaking I keep my thoughts to myself, much as I would like sometimes to intervene.
Mr. O'NEILL: Very often I do not agree with the speeches of my hon. friends of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation. I say that advisedly, although I think the members of that party are endeavouring, as I am, to help the labour situation in this country. I do not want my hon. friend to think I am resentful, but interruptions do tend to break the trend of thought which one is trying to put across.
The evening before last the hon. member for Broadview (Mr. Church) made a remark which I think is indicative of the viewpoint of a great many people. I do not say this in any unkindly spirit toward the hon. member, but it gives an idea of how some people are thinking. He said, as reported in Hansard, at page 3980:
You cannot fight Hitler with registrations. There are no labour unions in Germany; far from it.
His idea seemed to be that because some strikes are going on in this country to-day, the labour unions are responsible. That is far from being the situation. That there are strikes is very largely owing to the fact that labour is not organized. If there were powerful labour organizations, the leaders of those unions could sit round a conference table with the leaders of industry and probably there would not be any lockouts or strikes.
I have been working for the Canadian Pacific Railway company for over forty years, and in all that time I do not recall any lockouts or strikes among the engineers or the firemen. To say that we never had any differences of opinion would be far from the truth. Yet I do not believe any labour organization in North America has done any more for its membership than the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers has done for the men who are running engines in this country. But let me tell the committee this, that the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers did not achieve that record by militant and revolutionary methods. You cannot do business in this country on a militant and revolutionary system; the only place where that may be tried is in a country which desires revolution, and I do not think we want it here.
In 1939 I had the good fortune, the privilege and the pleasure of being in Geneva at an international labour conference. The building in which it was held, the League of Nations' palace, is one of the finest buildings I ever saw. It took four years to complete. Daily they had 500 men, of different nationalities and languages, working on that project. They worked 550,000 days, and they were never stopped for a fraction of a second on account of strikes, lockouts or any labour differences. That is a wonderful record in any oountry. If that can be achieved in Switzerland-I grant you that the men were well organized-there is no reason why the same thing could not be achieved here.
Having made those remarks, I wish now to call some matters to the attention of the minister. Being himself a trade unionist, he will understand, what I am talking about. It seems to me that the Minister of Labour is the man who has the portfolio with the responsibility of looking after the interests of the working class. I agree, however, that, in a government composed of fifteen, seventeen or maybe nineteen men, policy must be decided by the considered opinion of the group, so that we should not at all times blame the Minister of Labour because things are done with which we as labour men do not agree.
There are some conditions which, I believe, the Minister of Labour might help to correct. If we want to have satisfied labour men, men doing their jobs as such, one of the first things is to have them contented and well satisfied with their jobs. To start with, no man or woman who works for a living can be contented or satisfied if he or she is working for a wage which will not provide the necessities of life. The hon. member for Kenora-Rainy River (Mr. McKinnon) in his speech last
night called attention to the pay of stenographers of the lower grades, and to the conditions which exist in the new hostel which has been erected here in Ottawa to take care of that class of employees. One or two things are wrong. The first, in my opinion, is the wage; it is too low. Then, the rate charged by that hotel is higher than these stenographers can afford to pay. These are things which in my opinion are more or less the responsibility of the Minister of Labour, and which he should look after and try to straighten out.
Another factor which disturbs labour in this country is the cost of living index. Labour is quite definitely of opinion that the cost of living index is the main concern of the government-not the keeping down of the cost of living, but rather the keeping down of the figures in the cost of living index. In corroboration of that, to-day or yesterday I heard someone speaking on the radio upholding the cost of living index. The speaker was a lady, and she said that many factors enter into the cost of living index besides the necessities of life such as food, clothing and shelter. She went on to state these things. I am speaking from memory, but, as I recall, she said that food represented only twenty per cent of the cost of living, while many other things had to be taken into account. She said that a housewife might go to a grocery store and find that certain articles had gone up in price twenty-five or thirty points, but that she would find that clothing had remained the same, that house rent had practically remained the same; that doctors' fees, hospital bills, life insurance and many other things had remained the same. So that on the whole, she said, the cost of living index was only 17 or 17-5 per cent higher than it had been at the outbreak of the war.
But that is not the way to reckon the cost of living as it affects those who are in the low income brackets. Any family in the low income brackets having a doctor's bill of $100, $150 or $200 will never get out of that debt. They can never pay it off because they are living from hand to mouth all the time, so that to count in what people pay to doctors, so far as those in the low income brackets are concerned, is a fallacy. And as regards life insurance it is an absolute impossibility to the low income bracket people to carry any. They do not carry life insurance.
These are some of the reasons why I say that the labouring classes are dissatisfied with the way in which the figures making up the cost of living index are computed.
Again, there are such commodities as shirts and boots. For instance, take boots for children. Before the prices were fixed, these
boots were made of leather. But to-day in the great majority of cases they are made of pressed paper. The manufacturer does not guarantee them, and while you may not pay more for the same sort of article, the product you get lasts only from one-quarter to one-half of the time that the old product would last, before the wartime prices and trade board was set up. Therefore, instead of buying a pair of shoes for $1.25 for a child and expecting to have them last twelve months, you buy a pair for $1.25, the same price, and at the end of three months you are under the necessity of buying another pair, so that at the end of the year you have really paid $5 for shoes for that child. But it does not appear in that way in the cost-of-living index.
Recently I bought two shirts in Toronto. I paid $2.50 each. They were supposed to be the standard broadcloth type of shirt that would last a year. I regret to say that they are now worn, out; they are gone already. They have lasted only three or four washings. I send them to the best laundry, and I may observe in passing that so far as the laundries in Ottawa are concerned, they are about as good as one can find anywhere. At least, that is my experience. So that the fault cannot be attributed to the laundries.
The hon. member for Battle River (Mr. Fair) has brought up on many occasions the question on which I wish to touch just now and I crave the indulgence of the committee for bringing it up again. I refer to the question of the wartime prices and trade board being permitted to put a five-cent tax on coffee or tea. I see some members grinning at this. Well, to the man getting $4,000 it does not matter whether coffee is five cents a cup more than it used to be; but when you come to people who cannot pay any more than twenty-five cents for a meal at any time, for the simple reason that they do not make enough, and you charge them five cents extra for a cup of coffee, I ask, did you ever figure out what the increase means to such people? From their point of view it is the most ridiculous thing in the world, and yet the Canadian National Railways and the Canadian Pacific Railway are permitted, when passengers get a meal for $1.50, to charge five cents extra for the coffee. These are the conditions under which the labouring people have to work, and if it is suggested that they will remain docile, happy and contented under such conditions, then I say it does not make sense.
Again, take the cost-of-living bonus. I well recall when the order first went out; P.C. 7440 was the order in council, if I remember rightly. About the first thing the Department of Labour did at that time was to call in the heads of certain very strong and well-entrenched labour organizations in the country, and to ask them if they would be agreeable to enter into an arrangement whereby wages would be placed at a certain level-the basic rate would not be increased -and, in consideration of their relinquishing this right to negotiate a new wage agreement, if they would agree to that, they would be paid a certain cost-of-living bonus. That cost-of-living bonus was supposed to be paid, not on a percentage basis but on the basis of a flat rate to all the labour people.
Having in mind the conditions that prevailed in the last war, I agreed to that as an individual, and I went out among the labour organizations with which I was associated and tried to sell the idea to them which I did in good faith. Now, however, we find that many of the highly-paid skilled labourers, and those that are strongly organized, are getting the full cost of living bonus, while there are a great many others, particularly among the low-paid labour people, who do not get the full bonus. I can cite one case in which I am particularly interested. I will not mention any names, but there were three men and one girl working in a plant. They were all getting short-paid on the cost of living bonus, and I took the matter up to see what could be done. I will say for the Department of Labour and for the minister that he went after the case in a thorough way and cleaned it up as far as he could with the restrictions that had been imposed upon him. The result is that the three men are now getting the full cost of living bonus, while the girl, working for $12.75 a week, receives $2.71 cost of living bonus. On the other hand, the men who are getting $25 a week are being paid the full cost of living bonus. Surely, if there should be any difference at all, the people who are receiving $25 a week should get the $2.71 bonus, and the girl, receiving $12.75, ought to be paid the full cost of living bonus, if you want to make a discrimination. But it does not work out in that way.
A great many labour men in this country feel that the government have not played the game. They told us as plainly as possible, if I -can understand the English language, that the full cost of living bonus would be paid to everyone on the basis of a flat rate, and they have not lived up to that.
I have just one other comment to make. I am thoroughly in agreement with the remarks of the -member for Kenora-Rainy River when he said that stenographers in grades 1 and 2 should come under the Department of Labour. I would go farther and say that all those engaged in the civil service, at least those receiving under $3,000, should come under the minister. I am not objecting so much to the treasury board, because one can find out who are the members of that board and it is possible to go and speak to them. But one cannot find out who are their advisers, and those are the men whom I object to. Why do those fellows not come into the open so that we can find out who they are and what they are doing? They are the -men who make -the recommendations to the treasury board; the treasury board passes the recommendations on to council, and then they come out in the form of an order in council without parliament knowing anything about them. I do not think that is good enough, and as a labour -man I object strongly to that sort of thing. For the life of me I cannot see why all these matters should be kept so secret.
In taking part in this discussion on man-power I think certain general basic principles must foe fully understood before we proceed. The first basic principle for total war is that man-power must be totally mobilized for that war. I should like to quote two paragraphs from an article by Eric H. Biddle, entitled., "Manpower; A Summary of the British Experience", published by the Public Administration Service of Chicago:
The question is not what proportion of our man-power shall be devoted to the war effort and what part to other occupations.
It is rather how soon and how efficiently we can allocate to the several military and civilian aspects of the war effort our entire supply or skills.
I want the committee to pay particular attention to the word " skills."
Just as the army must balance the number of men assigned to combat service against the number in administrative andi auxiliary functions, so the entire personnel of the fighting forces must be balanced against the personnel engaged in direct production of essential supplies such as food or munitions. Finally, both these must -be balanced against the man-power for necessary auxiliary services of society.
In total war the civilian population must share with the military the responsibility of national service. If this responsibility is to be properly discharged, civilians must be supplied, housed, and provided with essential services. All these problems, in the interests of the armed forces as well as the civilian population, must take equal place with military
needs in national policy and national administration. In a chain, no link is less important than another.
That seemed to me such an excellent -description of man-power needs, Mr. Chairman, that I have read it into the record. It effectively expresses the goal which we must endeavour to approach.
Let us now look at what we have done in 'Canada. From the beginning man-power has been and still is dealt with as a partisan, political problem. It should have transcended that sphere many years ago. I am not going once more into the beginnings of mobilization; the thirty-day call-up; then the four-months call-up; then the conscription for home service; then the conscription for service in Newfoundland, Alaska and the West Indies; then the coercion and possibly if, as we must expect, we have casualties, the definite conscription for overseas service. This is a policy which is not honest and which is not playing fair with the men of this country. I have protested before; I protest again.
In August, 1940, we had the original registration, and hon. members do not need to be told how inefficient it was. Hon. gentlemen may remember that I was able to purchase a blank registration card without much difficulty on the streets of Montreal. They do not need to be told that the registration was practically of no value at all until quite recently. Now, however, with the rationing of beer and liquor, the registration has come to be of some use; one needs his registration card in order to get a permit from the local authorities for the purchase of beer or liquor, so that we are finding some use for the registration after all. I do not know whether the minister will remember the cartoon of the last war with the heading, " What did you do in the Great War, Daddy?" It will be very easy to say what one did in this great war; just hold up your registration card and you will be able to show that you were able to buy liquor all across Canada, and where you did buy it. So far as I am able to see, that is the only use we have been able to make of that farcical national registration.
I should like to mention one other matter, since it was broached this afternoon during the controversy concerning the former mayor of Montreal. I refer to the old bogey that we, the Conservative party, were the conscription-ists, that we were the people with the mentality of 1917, who wanted everybody in the army. Well, I took the responsibility at that time, as I should be willing to take it again, of being the first member of this house to advocate
compulsory national service for anywhere; that was in 1940. Just to keep the record straight, I should like to quote what I said at that time, as it appears at page 162 of Hansard for November 18, 1940.
The training of military personnel must be so arranged as not to conflict with industry. A comprehensive plan must be prepared by all industries engaged in our war effort, indicating the present and future demand in regard to man-power. To-day we have approximately fifty thousand employable unemployed in this country.
That will show how long ago that was, when we actually had fifty thousand employables still unemployed in Canada.
It is estimated that by July of next year-
This is November.
-industry will require a further 500,000 technically trained men. These men are as vital to the defence of Canada at the present time as are the soldiers who enlist in our army. Therefore I suggest that the Minister of National War Services (Mr. Gardiner) should go to the registration list and call out for training in our munitions industries all available people between the ages of 18 and 50 in order to make up this apparent deficiency.
And the next paragraph:
This is a total war. Each of us in Canada has a job to do. If we are employed in civilian occupations, and the government needs us for war work, whether as a soldier or in making machine guns, we must be prepared to go and do the country's bidding. Therefore I suggest an immediate recapitulation of the national registration scheme calling out all those who may become useful in our war industries.
That was 1940. Does that sound as if we wanted to drag men from the farms and from industry, merely for the glorification of having a great army? No; we have advocated from the beginning-and I quote again-"the scientific use of man-power in Canada". And I say to the minister that it is still not too late, but the time is running very, very short. This crisis is approaching. A great many industries, including agriculture, have already reached the crisis. I am not a farmer, but I would hate to make an estimate of the amount of foodstuff we shall be needing during the next winter which is not being produced because of insufficient farm help to work the farms.
There is one other thing I wish to mention, something which was manifestly unfair and unscientific in our calling up of man-power. That was with regard to recruiting. The first and second quotas for the armed forces were based not upon the population, not upon the number of males between certain ages, but upon the number of voluntary recruits who had already enlisted from the area. If one area had an enlistment of fifty, and another with the same population, had an enlistment
of ten, the area which had already sent fifty was asked for five times the number that had gone from the area which sent ten. That was unscientific, unsound and unfair, and it has caused a great deal of unrest and suffering across Canada.
There are those who have said quite recently in the house that in their opinion, so far as the armed forces are concerned, we had bitten off more than we could chew, and that to have an army of the size we have was greater than our population warranted. Mr. Chairman, I again take a certain amount of responsibility, because in that same year of 1940 I advocated a Canadian army of precisely the size it is to-day. It is not too big, judged by either Australia or New Zealand. We are not biting off more than we can undertake-and that is taking into account all our munition production, the fact that we are an industrial nation and New Zealand is not an industrial nation, and that Australia is not industrialized to the same extent as we are.
I have quoted the figures showing armed forces in Australia. An official dispatch estimates that approximately 850,000 persons were in the armed services of Australia, although she has a population of only slightly over seven million people. At that time I was told that the figures for New Zealand then given to me were most confidential, and under no circumstances was I to use them in the house. I respected that trust until quite recently when in volume 68 of the Commercial Intelligence Journal of June 5, 1943, I came across all the figures from New Zealand. That country, with a population of 1,500,000 has actually 160,000, or nearly twelve per cent of her total population in her armed forces. These are the exact words as they appear in the Commercial Intelligence Journal:
At present out of a total population of just over 1,500,000, 160,000 men are in the armed forces of New Zealand, and overseas. This figure represents a high percentage of the available man-power, and takes no account of the large number of women now serving, or of the thousands of men and women doing part-time service in such organizations as the home guard, emergency fire service, emergency precautions scheme, coast watches, etc. Such a substantial withdrawal of men and women from civilian pursuits at this time last year, when New Zealand was threatened with invasion and air raids, was considered necessary in the circumstances.
I do not say that we in Canada could have recruited for our armed forces on the same proportions as New Zealand, but I do say that what we have done, and what we propose to do, is by no means too much. We are having difficulty; there is a man-power crisis. And yet with the exception of Hong Kong and Dieppe our army -has not been in action.
I admit that they were pretty bad disasters; but even without any action, without any service, we are hard pressed for reinforcements. The man-power situation is much more serious than appears on the surface and we have not yet tackled it in a realistic or total way. We should try to impress upon the people of Canada the seriousness of the situation. Different ministers have endeavoured at different times to awaken the Canadian people from the complacency into which they have been lulled by the government policy-too. little and too late, a nibble here and a nibble there. But that did not do much good.
I should like to give one or two illustrations of the chaos that exists in Canadian industry. A year ago Canadian Car in Fort William came to the end of their contract. They had been building Hurricanes and had built up an organization of skilled aircraft workers. This work requires a considerable degree of skill, but these men were put out on the street. What happened? International Nickel company sent one or two special trains there, picked them up and took them to Sudbury. That is an extremely wasteful way of handling our man-power. That is why I used the word "skill" in my opening remarks to-night. Here we had skilled aircraft men being taken to a nickel mine to be made into miners. Both are skilled operations which require considerable experience and which entail considerable cost to achieve. That is the sort of thing that has been going on.
I was out at Victory Aircraft the other day, and I was told that between now and the end! of the year they will require 7,000 more men in order to fulfil their estimate of production. They had no idea where they would get them. I asked what sort of men were wanted,'and the manager told me that he would take anything as long as it had a pair of hands. They are in a desperate position. I know what some of these industrial plants are up against. We are just beginning to awaken the Canadian people to the fact that this war business is serious, but they do not know it yet.
What the government should have done was to say to the Canadian people four years ago, "We are in this war and it is going to be a tough business; it is everybody's war and it will be hell before we are through." Had the government done that, our man-power picture to-day would have been much brighter. Then the Minister of Labour would be in the same position as the Minister of National Defence for Air. That minister came out early in the war and said that he had a terrific job ahead of him. Month by month, half year by half year and year by year he has reported, either to this house or to the-
press. At times he has said, "We have not done as well as we wanted to, we have failed here and there; we have not the aircraft and we have not turned out as many men as we hoped to, but we are trying; we are doing what we can." I do not think anyone will deny that the greatest success achieved in Canada during this war has been the Royal Canadian Air Force and the joint air training plan. Instead of saying, like Candide is reported to have said, that everything is perfect in this most perfect of Liberal worlds, the minister should have said, "We have not the men; we have a lack of skilled wrorkers; we have bad management." But no; everything was perfect.
I have just one more subject with which I should like to deal, industrial disputes and labour unrest. In every plant where there has been labour unrest that I have visited I have found the cause to be inefficient and bad management. Work was being scrapped; men were wasting time because the raw materials were not coming through, and in some instances the plant had not been properly laid out. The government forgets that while the labourer is worthy of his hire, his self-respect demands that he be given something to do. The trouble is that the devil always finds work for idle hands to do.
I should like to mention one or two cases. The first is Victory Aircraft. During the change-over period one management wanted to discharge the present manager, according to the minister's statement made in the house. This manager knew his job; he had come from Fort William where they had been producing Hurricanes; he knew his job better than the company knew theirs, and he told them so. Yet they wanted to get rid of him and immediately there was talk of strikes. In fact, there was the definite liability of a strike by the workers in that plant demanding that the manager be kept on. They wanted to do a job. They did not want to be inefficiently managed. Just so long, Mr. Chairman., as there is inefficient management in a plant producing war equipment in Canada, there will be labour troubles. It is not the unions; it is not organized labour; it is individual human nature. To-day in the Toronto Shipbuilding yard there is trouble ostensibly between one union and another, but basically that trouble is as a result of inefficient management. I understand that since last year, since the plant was taken over from the Dufferin Shipbuilding company, only two out of the promised twelve ships were delivered to tide-water, and when they got there they had virtually to be rebuilt
from stem to stern. I doubt whether any ships have reached tide-water this year and been commissioned, and this is virtually July.
That is the trouble to-day with labour; that is why we have unrest. I do not believe that the situation at the Toronto Shipbuilding company's yards is satisfactory. I do not believe that it is satisfactory either to the Minister of Munitions and Supply or to the Minister of Labour. By reason of the policy of saying, "everything is lovely," you have trouble there, and in my opinion the trouble will continue until labour is given an opportunity to work under management that it respects.
the minister a little longer on this general item. I appreciate that he wants to get to the estimates, item by item. But the matter on which I am going to speak, very briefly, would not be applicable to any specific item that I see in the estimates.
I was very much interested in the speech made by the member for Kamloops (Mr. O'Neill), which was a refreshing breeze from that side of the house. He said many things with respect to the problems of labour with which I agree, but one thing I do not agree with was his analysis of labour conditions in Germany and in Canada. He pointed out quite rightly that Hitler was built for certain purposes, and the first organizations to fall under his heel were the labour organizations. But the point which my hon. friend did not make is that there is absolutely no difference between the mentality of those who^ destroy labour unions and the mentality of those who refuse to allow them to be born. One destroys them, and the other does not permit them to be born-and for exactly the same reason.
The hon. member for Kamloops as a member of a section of the trades union movement for forty years eulogized what they had achieved, but pointed out that less than twenty per cent-I think sixteen per cent is correct-of the workers in this country eligible for membership in the trades union movement are permitted to become members of a labour organization. I say "permitted" advisedly, because any member who has sat in this house for the past three years and listened to the discussions that have taken place with respect to labour endeavouring, plant by plant, mine by mine, factory by factory to exercise its right to sit round the conference table and bargain, can easily see what the factors were that were precluding them from joining a labour organization. Those em-
ployers who take the position' that they will not permit their employees to ballot on the question, of whether they shall have representatives or not appear to me in exactly the same light as Hitler, except that they are smarter than Hitler. They are not allowing industrial democracy to be given birth, but in Germany it was there and Hitler destroyed it. Let us make no mistake about the employer who will not permit his employees to join a labour organization. The ultimate objective in the mind of a person of that calibre is, in my opinion, the same that is in the minds of those who have built the totalitarianism which we are fighting against in the war to-day, and any of us in this house who are interested in a free parliament, freedom of speech and the right to criticize one another in a constructive manner should be cognizant of that situation if we are to preserve our democracy in the aftermath of this war.
I rose specially to mention two or three matters to the minister. First, I should like to focus his attention on the complete inadequacy of the machinery for settling disputes. There are now in Ontario and Quebec some disputes of major proportions which have been dragging on for a considerable time. I would remind the minister that these disputes are all on the question of taking a vote, on the recognition of a union. There are no wage demands. All that the workers in these disputes want is the right to have one of their elected fellow workers sit in with the boss and sell their labour power to him, the only thing, the workers have to sell. In the Marconi company's plant in Montreal there is a dispute which has lasted a considerable time. I do not wish to tire the minister with the details. I will simply say that a vote is not permitted at that plant because the employer does not want it. This particular company ignored an order issued by the minister with respect to the reemployment of one of its employees and insisted on an order in council being put through empowering him to penalize employers who ignored the instructions given. That was P.C. 4020. This is the company that stands up and says that its employees have not the right to vote. Second, all the nine plants at Galt that are tied up are so tied up on the basis of union recognition. No wage demands are involved, merely the right to go in and negotiate an agreement, as the hon. member for Kamloops (Mr. O'Neill) has been doing for forty years, and also the hon. member for Kenora-Rainy River (Mr. McKinnon). The miners and steel workers, of course, have the same rights
That strike in Galt has been dragging on for a considerable time. I have the reports here of a board of conciliation, headed by an eminent judge, which sat in this dispute. In every case, an examination of the record discloses, a majority of the men at the plant expressed their willingness to join a union, and in face of that there is an interruption of nine plants necessary to the war effort. All the employee there is looking for is the right to vote, and this the employer refuses him.
I will come to that in a minute. Another situation is at Hamilton Bridge; the vote is involved again; they have not the right to express their wishes in accordance with the franchise. The Ingersoll Rand company .in Sherbrooke, Quebec, which is a well equipped plant, is, I believe, at the present time completely idle, and it is the general opinion of the men employed in that plant, numbering perhaps five or six hundred, that the reason for the shut down is that they were exercising the right to express theii opinion through the medium of an organization. Over at Port Colbome, in a very necessary plant, one of the smelters of International Nickel, there is a similar situation, where the men are, I think, at least ninety per cent organized. They have done a very good job of organization; put their machinery together thoroughly, canvassed all the methods provided by the minister month after month with respect to the taking of a vote, and he finally wound up by advising them to hand their case over to the Ontario labour court. I do not know what that court is going to be. It is a one-man body. A judge is appointed for the purpose of adjudicating all matters of this kind. I have read over their act and know it fairly well, and I have not too much hope with respect to the ironing out of the difficulties of the workers on the basis of that act. But what I am complaining about is this, that in war emergency, where the federal government have exercised authority in every field of our war effort by the taking of emergency powers, at this stage of the game, after certain sections of the unions go through all the machinery provided by the federal government, it is a very convenient way of shelving the matter to now pass it back to a court which has not yet started to function. I believe that in the case of the International Nickel smelter at Port Colbome, affecting local No. 637 of the Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers Union, that matter should have been
handled and brought to a final determination by the Department of Labour instead of its being passed on to the Ontario labour court.
A few minutes ago the hon. member for York West (Mr. Adamson) mentioned the Toronto Shipbuilding yards. I have a few words to say on that, because the Minister of Munitions and Supply and I had considerable to say about it on Monday of this week. I endorse everything that the hon. member for York West has said. I speak about the matter now to the Minister of Labour because that dispute has been handed over to his department. I understand Mr. Ainsborough has been sent in there for the purpose of looking into the dispute and making his findings to the department. I know the men there are not satisfied; he has gone in there with limitations with respect to his authority to settle that matter; He is not there primarily to take care of the problem as it affects the 2S9 men who were illegally dismissed, by incompetent management, in violation of national selective service regulations: he is not there for the purpose of settling that matter which should have been settled, and settled1 on Monday of this week, because I think the men in that plant have been reasonable and fair. They demanded three things of the Minister of Munitions and Supply: First, that the 289 men dismissed from that plant should be placed back at their work. The minister stated on Monday that there was nothing to stop them from going back to their work, that there would be no discrimination. These men have applied, in many cases, and have been refused employment, and they have been told that they will not be taken back by that company except on a re-hiring basis. That is the old formula for discrimination. It is not new in Ontario; it is not new in Canada; it was developed a good many years ago over in the United States when they were fighting this battle for the formation of unions: "Fire them en bloc, re-hire them, and we will pick them and cull them out and leave on the streets the effective ones who lead the movement." So that it is an old formula which the Toronto Shipbuilding company is applying at the present time. These men should have been back at work. They should have been ordered back to work either by the Minister of Munitions and Supply or by the Minister of Labour on Monday of this week, and they should have been earning a living this week while this matter was being investigated by the department which is now inquiring into it. Second, they asked for remuneration for time lost by virtue of the illegal dismissals, and I think they are perfectly justified in the demand. Third, and most important to this
house and to the taxpayers of Canada, they demand a complete examination of that yard on the basis of efficiency.
I listened to these men discussing their problems. I heard them draft a memorandum of their grievances and the matters about which they demanded investigation, and they are serious. I saw a copy of that memorandum placed in an envelope and mailed to the Minister of Munitions and Supply. An hon. member on this side of the house questioned the minister this week as to whether he had received that memorandum or not, and he said he had not received it. Well, if he has not, there is something wrong with the postal department or something wrong with his secretary who looks after his mail. I know that the memorandum was mailed. I have a copy of it here. I do not intend to read it, but the fact of the matter is that there is stuff in it that I am ashamed of. I am ashamed that the taxpayers of this country should see how their money is being spent in a necessary war plant. If the Minister of Labour has not a copy of that memorandum, and now, since this dispute is centred in his department, he intends to make a thorough examination of the question, I am prepared to give him this copy of the memorandum and let him make full use of it, seeing that the minister of munitions has evidently lost his.
A commissioner is in there making an investigation, and with the limitations that are imposed on his powers with respect to that dispute, I suggest that those powers should be extended to include an examination of the reasons why these 289 men were thrown out of that yard without any redress from any of the regulations laid down by this government respecting matters of this kind.
There was a serious dispute there last Saturday when 1,200 men walked out of the plant, and it was with considerable persuasion-*
They were idle last Saturday, in the Toronto Shipbuilding company. As I say, with considerable persuasion on the part of the steel workers' union officials, at a meeting I sat in on, these 1,200 men went back to work for the one purpose of placing the men so dismissed on a legal footing-
About 2,500. I am not sure of that, but I believe that is the number. The object was that the union officials would leave the door open, not being engaged in the strike, to argue the matter out, to have it
arbitrated, and to have the men returned immediately. After listening to the discussion there last Saturday, I heard a telegram read, drafted by C. H. Millard. The telegram was to the minister of munitions. Surely he received this telegram. This is one of the men whom he characterized in the house as a promoter of strife, and Mr. Millard advises him that after considerable difficulty they had finally persuaded the men to go back to work, which opened the door for negotiations, and he suggested that an order should be issued immediately to get the men back to work pending a settlement through the medium of the regulations laid down by the government.
I was reasonably sure that once the minister of munitions had received that telegram and memorandum, and having in mind the background of the whole business, he would issue an order to get the men back to work. This is Friday, and with the exception of about twenty men the rest are still idle, still waiting for some settlement. They are not satisfied with the terms of reference which the conciliation officer, sent there by the Department of Labour, has submitted. It appears that he is restricted to making an examination into the dismissal of one man, which took place a few weeks ago and which has no relationship to the present dispute. They ask for the extension of his terms of reference to^ include an examination of the problem affecting the dismissal of these 289 men and also to go into the charges made against the management of that plant, as set out in the memorandum to which I have referred.
I do not want to take up the time of the committee, but there are five pages on this question, and every page contains certain charges by the employees of that plant with respect to wastage, loss of man-hours, discrimination, lack of building ships and various matters of that kind.
That yard, according to the description I heard from men whom I consider competent to make a criticism in their own departments, leaves much to be desired from the point of view of the public moneys that have been spent there.
My main reason for rising to-night is to focus the minister's attention on that Toronto Shipbuilding dispute, so that he may give Ainsborough-I believe that is his name-sufficient latitude to make his examination impartial and to judge the question on its merits through the medium of his department. I suggest also, in view of the necessity for building ships, an order should be issued immediately to put these men back to work.
That is all they want. But they do not want to go back to work on the terms on which the company would take them back, because they know it will mean that about 20 per cent of the most efficient men in the yard will be left on the street. I think they are fully entitled to return to work, and the whole matter should be investigated.