June 28, 1943

LIB
NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

I understood the minister to say, if they were essential to agriculture, they do not do so. But this is the system which the government are working in order to get volunteers for the army. Certainly many young men who to-day are essential on the farms are not going to ask for postponement. As the minister has just hinted, he would not do it; neither would I do it if I received a call; in fact, I do not think either one of us would wait until we received a call. But if we did, certainly, with our pals over there we would not want to ask for postponement. And many of these young men to-day are not asking for

postponement, despite the fact that they are urgently needed on the farm. I say that the government is not fulfilling its responsibility in that I know of young men who have been operating their own farms, and who are of that call age, who this spring did not operate their farms though they would have done so had they some definite assurance that they could carry on for a year. Under the present system all they can receive is a postponement for six months. That is a most indefinite arrangement for any man who has to plan to-day for the production of foodstuffs to operate on. If the Minister of Labour will not agree with me, certainly the Minister of Agriculture will.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I will not agree that they get six months' postponement.

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NAT
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

They get a postponement until further call if they are essential to agriculture.

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NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

But they are not assured of anything over six months, are they?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Oh, yes, they are assured until further call, which may take them to the end of the war.

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NAT
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Well, they do not get

another call unless there is new information.

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NAT
LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

If I may put it in a

sentence to my hon. friend, in agriculture they get indefinite postponement; in industry, the maximum is twelve months and the minimum six months. That is the whole thing, simply stated.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

I shall not go into the

question of policy. Most of the complaints received from my province arise, I believe, on account of lack of experience of men in the selective service branch. Perhaps that is inevitable by reason of the number who have been engaged and the kind of work they have to do. I think it was the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. Reid) who asked the minister early in the evening if he had practical men to review or pass on the ability of the men to do certain work. I believe that is a very proper thing to do. I do not think a doctor can judge, absolutely at least, whether a man can work in a logging camp or in a mine or at any other employment where hard physical labour is required. I have before me

War Appropriation-Labour

in concrete form cases which a certain firm employing help in Vancouver took up with the national selective service after the second compulsory transfer order. I have the names, the numbers, and all other particulars, but I will not give the names. In case A, as I will eall it, the party has 'been known to the writer of the letter and to his company for quite a few years. He has suffered from extreme eye trouble since his early childhood. He has been under treatment for a considerable time and is still under treatment from Doctor Graham Elliott of that city, who has started him on a series of artificial fever treatments through another medical practitioner, which treatments cost $36 and necessitates his going into hospital. The writer goes on to state:

At the present time this man is practically blind in one eye and has very limited vision in the other. He has done no reading for over six months and does no writing. Until March last year he had been unable to take employment. At that time, when he had sufficient vision to get around, we found a job for him in eur hardware storeroom where he has served a useful purpose ever since. We of course allow him time off for his treatments, when his doctor recommends them.

Here is the disposition the selective service made. The officials of the selective service board slated him for a lumber or mining camp. The man explained his regrettable inability to consider either. The officials then wanted him to go to the shipyards where they would find him a nice easy job in the shade counting rivets. The man explained about his eyes and the fact that he was still taking treatment.

Then we come to another case, that of a furniture salesman, who had his rejection slip dated October 15, 1942, category E, permanently unfit. He has never done any labouring in his life. He has never been in the woods or in a lumber camp. The official is sending him to a lumber camp and has told him cheerfully that if he does not sign to go voluntarily they will drag him.

Anyone who knows anything about lumbering in British Columbia knows it is work for young able-bodied men. Before the war, only young -men were accepted there. It is an extremely hazardous occupation, much more so than lumbering in eastern Canada, and to suggest that a man should go to the lumber camps in British Columbia without having had any lumbering experience, and being too old and in poor physical condition, is simply to make him a menace both to himself and to those who would be working with him.

The next case-the name and number are given in each case-is that of a man who applied to -the air force and the navy prior to getting his army refusal. He was refused

entrance into the armed forces on account of a heart condition. He visited the selective service board a second time and was told by the official who interviewed him that the medical board had decided that he should accept work in a logging camp. The man refused to accept -the ruling, and he was told again that he either had to accept it or they would compel him to do so.

I suggest that in such cases there should be a committee of loggers. They may not be qualified from the medical point of view, but I am sure they would know whether a man was able to work in a logging camp or not, because they would have to work with him. In cases of this kind, where a man is slated for some industry, such as logging, or any other activity of that kind, a practical committee of people who know what the industry is like should be asked to say what they think of the possibilities of the man being fit for that kind of work.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

Those two gentlemen had the right to appeal to the court of referees against the decision of -the selective service officer. I know the gentlemen comprising labour representatives on the -board in Vancouver: G. Price, Canadian Congress of

Labour; E. Morton, Canadian Congress of Labour; B. Showier, Trades and Labour Congress; R. H. Neelands, Trades and Labour Congress; R. Gervin, Trades and Labour Congress, and E. Smith, Trades and Labour Congress. The men to whom the hon. member has referred could have appealed to them.

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NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

The minister did not answer the question in regard to the liaison between the mobilization board and the selective service office. I said there was duplication there, and I should like to know how the two offices operate.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

Representatives of the selective service attend the meetings of the mobilization -board1.

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NAT
LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

Yes. We felt that the selective service covered all the ramifications of industry and agriculture, and we thought that if we took that from the mobilization board it would be better. All they do is to adjudicate the man as a conscientious objector and he is turned over to the selective service, who direct him.

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NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

The selective service officer has all the evidence of that kind.

War Appropriation-Labour

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NAT

Douglas Gooderham Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (St. Paul's):

On page 3954, of

Hansard, giving the tables which the minister submitted, there appears to me to be a point that is not answered. The number of men called is given as 988,475. They were called for medical examination. Some did not turn up, but the number examined was 608,642. Then we find that 233,224 requested postponements; 190,550 postponed and the number in effect, 100,973. That means that the number granted and the number in effect total 291,523. Are all these postponements?

Mr. MITCHELL; Yes.

Mr. ROSS (St. Paul's); So that out of the 608,642 examined we have 289,544 called for military service, and out of that number only 160,662 turned up. That leaves about 129,000 to be accounted for. In the statement the minister says:

Voluntary enlistments, as well as postponements, account for most of the difference of 129.000 between the numbers called for military training and those reporting.

I do not know where postponements enter into this. What happened to the 129,000? That is what I should like to know.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

They are in the army

or in the navy or air force.

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June 28, 1943