February 14, 1944

LABOUR CONDITIONS

WARTIME WAGES CONTROL ORDER P.C. 9384- MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31

NAT

Percy Chapman Black

National Government

Mr. P. C. BLACK (Cumberland):

Mr. Speaker, I ask for leave under standing order 31 to move the adjournment of the house for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely the urgent need for postponement of the application of the wartime wages control order, 1943, P.C. 9384, which order otherwise becomes effective February 15, 1944, which is to-morrow.

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   WARTIME WAGES CONTROL ORDER P.C. 9384- MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
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LIB

Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

A copy of this motion was given to me just before I entered the house. The question of the adjournment of the house must depend upon the urgency of the matter involved. I am not in a position to be fully aware of that urgency, so I would ask the hon. member to let me know the degree of urgency upon which he would base such a motion.

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   WARTIME WAGES CONTROL ORDER P.C. 9384- MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
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NAT

Percy Chapman Black

National Government

Mt. BLACK (Cumberland):

Under the terms of the order in council to which this motion refers, Mr. Speaker, it becomes effective February 15, which is to-morrow. The matter is urgent, because if the application of the order is not postponed it will become effective to-morrow, with its many objectionable features, without members of parliament having an opportunity to discuss it. Therefore I consider it most urgent that the application of the order be postponed.

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   WARTIME WAGES CONTROL ORDER P.C. 9384- MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

May I say to my hon. friend that the order has been in force since December 9, 1943. I have in my hand a copy of the wartime 'wages control order, 1943, P.C. 9384. dated at Government House, Ottawa, Thursday, December 9, 1943. It was approved at that time. There is one clause in the order which does not become effective until the 15th of this month; that is, a provision giving employees certain advantages through having the cost of living bonus embedded in the wage rate, and having wage scales based on that basic rate. The effect of the postponement of that particular clause, as requested by my hon. friend, would be simply to deprive labour of at least one provision in the order which I think labour would very much wish to have retained. At any rate the order is in force at the present time, and my hon. friend's motion is not a correct statement of fact.

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   WARTIME WAGES CONTROL ORDER P.C. 9384- MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GORDON GRAYDON (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to

say something with respect to the matter now before the house. When the Prime Minister speaks of the order in council having been effective or in force since December, the date of the order, he must remember that one of the major provisions of the order will become effective to-morrow. So important does labour regard this, that during the last few days there have 'been protests from one end of the country to the other. And when the Prime Minr-ister talks about taking away something from labour by not having this order applied tomorrow, I suggest that he should not be so far out of tune with labour sentiment. Only yesterday in this city there was a largely-

Labour Conditions-Wages Control

attended labour meeting which asked not only for the postponement but for the rescinding of this whole order in council. The fact that the hon. member for Cumberland has brought this matter before the house is only a reflection of the views of labour from one- end of Canada to the other. I am convinced, despite what the Prime Minister says, that this is the last day before the order in council comes into full force and effect, and therefore urgency is a prime factor in the matter.

Mr. MACKENZIE, KING: Mr. Speaker,

this is not the time to debate the question of the order. It is a matter of stating, with respect to a motion which is before the house, whether what is set forth in the motion is or is not correct. The fact that there have been a number of meetings held-and we all know how these are arranged-

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   WARTIME WAGES CONTROL ORDER P.C. 9384- MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

How are

they arranged?

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   WARTIME WAGES CONTROL ORDER P.C. 9384- MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Well, my hon. friend, I suppose, has as much knowledge of those matters as I have.

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   WARTIME WAGES CONTROL ORDER P.C. 9384- MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

I do not know what the Prime Minister means by that, but if he is insinuating that there is someone behind the scenes arranging meetings of labour, then I say that is not correct.

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   WARTIME WAGES CONTROL ORDER P.C. 9384- MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I do not think the point is one which needs to be discussed. What I was going to say about these meetings is that they reveal the extent to which representations have been made with respect to the order, not only in the house but throughout Canada, which are not correct. The people have been led to believe that the order was not to come into force until a certain time, namely, the 15th of this month. As a matter of fact the order has been in force for over two months, since December 5 in fact. And so far as I can see no one has suffered by it. Indeed, we are now being told that it should not be put into force to-morrow, lest once in force somebody might perchance suffer from the consequences of it. *

The clause which, was not to come into effect until to-morrow is No. 16, as follows:

16. No employer shall, except in accordance with a written direction of the National Board in any payroll period commencing on or after February 15, 1944, pay wages to an employee in an occupational classification for which he is required to establish a single rate or range under section 15 of this order, at a rate other than a single rate or a rate within a range established in the manner therein prescribed for such classification.

The manner prescribed is to see that that basic rate contains not only the former rate, but also an amount calculated by way of

[Mr. Graydon.J

bonus, embedded in it as part of the rate. The fact the hon. member and others have been under the impression that the order has not been in force up to the present time shows that there has been a good deal of misleading information and some misleading expressions with regard to it. However, I made clear a day or so ago that the government has under consideration certain amendments. Representations have been made by hon. members and representatives of labour and others, and I have stated that very shortly we expected to have certain amendments made to the order. I therefore cannot see why there is any urgency with respect to the order being discontinued at this time.

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   WARTIME WAGES CONTROL ORDER P.C. 9384- MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. CLARENCE GILLIS (Cape Breton South):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to make a few observations on this matter, and particularly as to the urgency of it. I believe the point raised by the hon. member for Cumberland (Mr. Black) is a good one. As the Prime Minister has pointed out, the order has been operative, with the exception of its financial aspects, since December.

I am always afraid of how legislation of this kind may be administered. As I view it, the postponement of the order now will not cause labour to suffer the loss of any benefits which might accrue to them because of the application of-the order with respect to the bonus. They are now being paid the bonus; they are receiving that money now. It is merely a matter of changing it from a bonus arrangement to basic rates. What I am afraid of if the order becomes operative to-morrow is that the minimum of thirty-five cents an hour, which the order sets out as being grossly unjustifiable, will be applied by the national war labour board. There are many organizations now negotiating agreements with employers across Canada who have not that particular angle to contend with. If the board is permitted to apply the financial aspects of the present order, in my opinion it is going to militate against organizations now in the process of wage negotiations. That is what I am afraid of-that the board will take as its only latitude in permitting increases the basis now set out in the order, "gross inequalities" meaning thirty-five cents an hour. Consequently it will interfere with the functioning of regional boards, which are now making examination of the wages in different places and with different organizations. They have some latitude, and can make decisions. Under the new order they are not permitted to make any decisions unless they are ratified by the national board. The only scope the national board will have in making adjustments in wages is in respect of the financial aspect of

Labour Conditions-Wages Control

the order to be declared operative to-morrow.

I cannot agree with the Prime Minister when he says that labour would receive any benefit from the bringing into effect of the provisions of the order which are not at present operative.

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   WARTIME WAGES CONTROL ORDER P.C. 9384- MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Mr. Speaker,

I rise to a point of order. I do not wish to prevent my hon. friend from speaking, but there is a time when this matter can be debated. I might point out that it has already been debated in the debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne. Then there is a bill on the order paper with respect to the wages control order that would make the discussion of the wages control order at this time out of order. Moreover I have given the house the assurance that the matter of amending the order will be discussed again before very long. What we 'have before us is a motion which states as a fact something which is not a fact; and, not being a matter of fact, the grounds upon which it is suggested action should be taken fall completely. I submit it is for Your Honour to say whether this is the time to discuss this particular question, and more particularly on a motion which does not set forth the facts.

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   WARTIME WAGES CONTROL ORDER P.C. 9384- MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
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LIB

Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I have listened to the

submissions by hon. members with regard to the urgency of the matter. Citation 176 in BeauChesne, third edition, states:

The "definite matter of urgent public importance" for the discussion of which the adjournment of the house may be moved under standing order No. 31, must be so pressing that public interest will suffer if it is not given immediate attention.

On the 2nd of November, 1932, a member asked leave to make this motion for the purpose of discussing the necessity of immediate action being taken by the house to investigate the financial position of a certain life insurance company and the conduct of its senior officers, as disclosed by a recent police court investigation in Chicago. The Speaker ruled that the motion should not be allowed, because he did not think the matter mentioned in the member's statement was of recent occurrence nor so urgent that the proceedings of the house should be halted so that it may be discussed. There must be a prima facie case of urgency.

On page 741 is to be found a ruling given by the Hon. Mr. Rhodes, then Speaker of the house. It reads:

(b). "Urgency" within this rule does not apply to the matter itself, but it means^ "urgency of debate" as the ordinary opportunities provided by the rules of the house do not permit the subject to be brought on early enough and public interest demands that discussion take place immediately.

The right hon. Prime Minister has stated what I had noted, that the motion concerned the urgent need for the postponing 100-27J

of the application of the wartime wages control order, 1943, being P.C. 9384. This order otherwise becomes effective on February 15, 1944. The facts as stated by the right hon. Prime Minister are that the order in council in question is now in effect and therefore it does not come within the last sentence which states that it becomes effective on February 15, 1944. It is very difficult for the Chair not to accede to a request by an hon. member to adjourn the house to discuss a matter which is evidently much in the minds of hon. members, but the Chair must be satisfied that there is that degree of urgency which would make it absolutely necessary that it be discussed in order that no injustice should be done either to hon. members of the house or to the people of Canada. In the circumstances as I now have them I must come to the conclusion that there is not that urgency which would justify me in allowing this motion to be put before the house.

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   WARTIME WAGES CONTROL ORDER P.C. 9384- MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
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NAT

Percy Chapman Black

National Government

Mr. BLACK (Cumberland):

Mr. Speaker,

I have the greatest respect for your position and I have the highest regard for Your Honour-

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   WARTIME WAGES CONTROL ORDER P.C. 9384- MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order.

Mr. BLACK (Cumberland). -because of your fairness, dignity and ability to discharge your duties as Speaker, but in view of the urgency of this matter, and in view of the protests that have been made by all parts of Canada, I desire with the greatest courtesy to appeal from your decision.

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   WARTIME WAGES CONTROL ORDER P.C. 9384- MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
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LIB

Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I am not deciding a

point of order. Standing order 12 reads:

Mr. Speaker shall preserve order and decorum, and shall decide questions of order, subject to an appeal to the house without debate. In explaining a point of order or practice, he shall state the rule or authority applicable to the case.

I am not dealing with a question of order. I am dealing with a question of the opinion of the Chair, and I take it that my opinion is not appealable by the house.

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   WARTIME WAGES CONTROL ORDER P.C. 9384- MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

The Prime Minister raised a point of order and you gave a decision.

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   WARTIME WAGES CONTROL ORDER P.C. 9384- MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

The Prime Minister raised a point of order.

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   WARTIME WAGES CONTROL ORDER P.C. 9384- MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I did not raise the question. May I say that in regard to matters of urgency 'the practice is for the hon. member to confer with the Chair in advance and obtain the agreement of the Chair that it is a matter of urgency.

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   WARTIME WAGES CONTROL ORDER P.C. 9384- MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
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February 14, 1944