May 5, 1944

CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

I have read it so often I know it by heart.

Topic:   NATIONAL SELECTIVE SERVICE MOBILIZATION REGULATIONS
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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

And I have read it, notwithstanding the reading I have to do. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe I indicated to my hon. friend that the other matter is receiving consideration, and he may rest assured that where the claims are in order they will probably be paid.

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LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

I would direct the attention of the committee to the administration of selective service in local offices. I must say, however, that I cannot agree with the hon. member for Cape Breton South when he says that many of the regulations made here in Ottawa do not get through to the local offices. I am inclined to take the view that it would be much better

War Appropriation-Labour

if there were a little more local autonomy in connection with applying some of the regulations.

As the hon. member has said, in the main, selective service is doing a very good job. I was pleased to hear the hon. member say that, and on that point I can agree with him.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

I said that was so in Nova

Scotia.

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LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

Well, what is characteristic of Nova Scotia might very well apply to Canada, because the same regulations go out to each locality. Each locality has a local situation, and those who happen to administer that local situation are probably in a better position to apply the rules than those who would make a blanket ruling here in Ottawa.

In war time, regulations have to be made, and they have to be applied universally. I sometimes think, however, that a certain leniency should be extended to local offices. My attention was called recently to the case of a farmer who sold his farm last fall. He had been suffering from an impairment of health. As hon. members must know, this job of farming is not meant for a physical weakling. The health of the man in question had been impaired to the extent that he could not farm successfully, but he was still able to contribute in other walks of life which require the expenditure of less energy and physical effort. This man went to the city and worked for a firm which was servicing farmers' products. Only the other day he got notice that because of the freezing order with respect to farms he would have to go back to agriculture. This man had moved to the city, and had taken his family with him. He had been a farmer, and had never worked for any other farmer, having always worked for himself. It seems to me that while we should have as many men as possible back on the farms, yet the man who has served his day in producing food at reasonable prices, even for the coal miners, for a period of years, should not be treated in that way. He had produced food at reasonably cheap prices, and had produced purchasing power of which the hon. member for Macleod has been speaking. Yet this man was asked to go back to the farm and accept $2 a day less than he had been receiving in the city.

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LIB

William Henry Golding

Liberal

The ACTING CHAIRMAN (Mr. Golding):

The hon. member is speaking with respect to selective service. I would point out that that item has been passed.

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LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

Perhaps what I am saying should have been said before, but the same principle applies. Both the hon. member for

Cape Breton South and the hon. member for Macleod emphasized the difficulties in their particular walks of life, and I thought it only fair to draw attention to the fact that there have been farmers who have gone from the farms. Whether they went to the coal-mining industry, or to other industry, the principle remains the same.

The point I make is that the department should give a little more leniency to the local offices, because they can treat local cases. I have seen men with tears in their eyes when they have been ordered to transfer. Those transfers meant that they had to uproot their families. I believe selective service could give even greater help if it were permitted to give a little more consideration to particular cases.

I am not speaking critically, because I believe selective service has done a wonderful job. Canada's war record could not have been as good, had there not been some regimentation of industry. Despite the fact that our hon. friends across the way refer to a manpower muddle, I do not think it has been muddled, because our people have been able to give the greatest contribution per capita of any people in the united nations. But, after all, there is nothing so good but what it might be even better, and I would ask the minister to give consideration to the point I have raised.

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NAT

Percy Chapman Black

National Government

Mr. BLACK (Cumberland):

I should like to support the representations made by the hon. member for Macleod and the hon. member for Cape Breton South with respect to the administration of this vote. There are two coal fields in my riding, one at Springhill and the other at River Hebert-Joggins. All things being considered, the production from these fields since the beginning of the war has been gratifying. However, I was disappointed that the production in Cumberland and in Nova Scotia last year was not larger than it was. I believe, if a clear indication had been given at the beginning of the war as to what was to be the duty of the miners, the production would have been much more satisfactory.

At the beginning of this war, as in the last war, the miners of Nova Scotia enlisted freely. They considered this to be their patriotic duty. Many skilled men left the mines to enlist and the output was reduced. There has been dissatisfaction and uncertainty because of the more recent order which took men from the services from the call-ups and from industry and placed them in the mines.

Some men have complained that while they were classified as coal miners they had never been down in a mine. They may have done some casual labour at the pithead or in handling coal, but they could not be classified as miners since they had no such training or

War Appropriation-Labour

experience. This is unfortunate from the point of view of morale of the miners generally. In many cases men have been taken from important work and sent to the mines against their wills. Coal mining is a hazardous employment requiring great skill and experience and the department is assuming serious responsibility when it takes men against their will and sends them into the mines.

The miners of Nova Scotia are anxious to serve where they can be of the most use to their country. That is why they enlisted so freely in the last war and in the present war. I should like the minister to give us a breakdown of this appropriation of $250,000 now being considered by the committee. I should like to know how the money is being distributed, how much is being spent in Nova Scotia and how much in other parts of Canada.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

We have not a breakdown in front of us. I suppose the hon. member refers to Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick?

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NAT

Percy Chapman Black

National Government

Mr. BLACK (Cumberland):

Yes. How

much of this is appropriated to the coal mining industry in Nova Scotia, and under just what headings?

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

This is for the new

fiscal year and we do not just know where the money will be spent. It is to cover transfers and the guarantee of a minimum weekly wage to those who are transferred, and to pay expenses connected therewith.

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NAT

Percy Chapman Black

National Government

Mr. BLACK (Cumberland):

How was this same amount expended last year?

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I have not that before

me, but I shall be glad to get it for my hon. friend.

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SC

James Alexander Marshall

Social Credit

Mr. MARSHALL:

I do not intend to hold up the passing of this particular item. I had intended to say something on the sundry services item, but I shall leave that until the civil estimates of the minister are before us. I should like to suggest to the minister that a little more care be taken in setting out his estimates. These estimates are given on page 396 of Hansard of February 11 and they show a total appropriation for 1943-44 of $21,558,192. According to the statement in Hansard it would appear that the estimates this year were increased by $2,450,000, whereas the statement submitted by the minister shows a decrease of $283,011.

If the minister will check the statement which was given to us a few days ago he will find that no fewer than seven items do not correspond with what is to be found in Han-

sard. For instance, at the top of page 2 of the statement we find an item covering stabilization of longshore labour at Halifax. No amount is shown in Hansard, while an amount of $600,000 is shown on the white sheet. Item 13 provides for assistance to the provinces in recruiting, transporting and placing labourers on farms. A statement in Hansard shows an amount of $250,000, whereas the white sheet shows $920,000. Item 15 covers the transfer of ex-coal mine workers back to the industry. Nothing at all is shown in Hansard, but an amount of $250,000 is shown on the white sheet. There may be an explanation for this and, if so, I should like to have it before the estimates are passed. There may be two or three items included under sundry services, but I shall leave a discussion of those until the civil estimates are up later on.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

Since the items were

drafted in the department there have been some changes made by the treasury board. I have not been able to put my hands on the Hansard to which my hon. friend referred. He says that nothing is shown to cover the transfer of ex-coal mine workers, but I think he will find that an amount of $250,000 is shown.

Topic:   NATIONAL SELECTIVE SERVICE MOBILIZATION REGULATIONS
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SC

James Alexander Marshall

Social Credit

Mr. MARSHALL:

Possibly the minister is looking at the 1944-45 column.

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LIB
SC

James Alexander Marshall

Social Credit

Mr. MARSHALL:

I am talking about the estimates of last year. According to Hansard this year the minister is asking for an increase of $250,000. In reality there is a decrease of $283,000 in the estimates. To me that does not show a true picture.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I am informed that we did not use all the money that was made available to us a year ago and that it was turned back to other departments which had overspent their estimates.

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SC

James Alexander Marshall

Social Credit

Mr. MARSHALL:

That is not the answer, because these are only estimates; they are not actual expenditures. It is a different thing to show estimates and to show actual expenditures.

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May 5, 1944