September 12, 1945

PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GREEN:

It is "with a minimum of

delay".

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

Yes, "with a minimum of delay and inconvenience." I did not wish to be unfair to my hon. friends across the way.

I do not know just when this speech was put together, but I imagine that it was before we had that fine example of cooperation at the Lambton Golf club.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Since when did your labour leaders travel with reporters and camera men?

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

They did not.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

They did.

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CCF

Percy Ellis Wright

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

Mr. WRIGHT:

No, they did not.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

I was there.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

Then it can be assumed as logically that the reporters travelled with you; you were there too. That does not prove anything, it is the manner in which they were received that is important. Those of us who have been closely associated with the affairs of labour since the war began, and long before that, know the difficulty that labour had in getting any cooperation or recognition in industry. It was one continual battle. In 1941 the government refused point-blank to sign a contract with a trade union; and it was not until the fall of 1942 that it passed an order-in-council-I do not know why it was necessary-to permit itself to sign agreements with a trade union.

If any other proof of the lack of cooperation is required I cannot do better than read a statement made by the Minister of Reconstruction at the meeting of the Trades and Labour Congress in Toronto in 1944. And may I say before I read this that I have the highest regard for the minister's ability and the work that he has done during the last six years. He has been told that from this side of the house on many occasions, but there are more things required in life than just ability. Talking to the delegates he said:

You will say at once that I could have proposed this close association during my period as Minister of Munitions and Supply. I look back over the last five years and admit that better results could have been obtained had a closer exchange of views been arranged. My excuse for not having taken the initiative in making arrangements of that kind is that there

have not been hours in the day sufficient to do everything that should have been done.

We all learn by experience-

Some more than others.

-and sometimes an opportunity comes to reorganize in a way that will profit by that experience. Therefore, in reorganizing the Department of Reconstruction I intend to ask you, who represent organized labour, to take an active part in the work of that department.

That department has been organized. I do not know exactly who are the officials now, but in April 1945 all the officers of the Department of Reconstruction had been appointed. I have their names here, and I do not find the name of a single representative of labour among them. Here they are: Mr. R. A. C. Henry, who I think was deputy minister in the Department of Munitions and Supply, on leave from Montreal Light, Heat and Power Consolidated; J. H. Berry, director-general of war supplies, on leave from General Motors Corporation.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

My hon. friend has no right to say that. Mr. Berry has not been associated with General Motors for some five years, and he is not on leave from that company. Mr. Henry is not on leave from Montreal Light, Heat and Power.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

Very well; I take the word of the minister for it, but I still say there is not a representative of labour among the officials of this department. Each of them is or was a representative of big business. I will read the names. If my hon. friend is so touchy on the matter that he does not like me to read the names of the companies with which they were associated, I will leave that out. The other names are: Hon. J. A. Bril-lant; H. J. Carmichael, both names which are familiar to most of us; A. A. Mackay, F. M. Ross, H. Carl Goldenberg and F. W. Bruce. That is the kind of cooperation that has existed between management, the government and labour since the war began; and the feeling in the labour movement to-day is that there is a conspiracy between the government and big business to reduce wages as quickly as possible.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

My hon. friend himself knows that is not true.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

I do not think my hon. friend has any right to make that sort of remark, and I ask that he withdraw it.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

Very well; I will withdraw it.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

I am not stating anything here that I do not believe to be true. I am not built that way.

The Address-Mr. Maclnnis

OOMiMOiNS

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I will put it this way, then; I do not think it is true.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

Very well; it will be for my hon. friend to prove that.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

If I may say this to my hon. friend on a question of privilege; he is casting a reflection upon all the ministers sitting here when he says there is a conspiracy on the part of government and big business to break down the wage structure of this country. That was the language he' used. I think that is a reflection upon my character and upon the character of every minister in the House of Commons. My hon. friend is not out on a soap box in the market square; he is facing his peers right here, and he should not forget it. I am not going to stand for that sort of thing.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

I did not say that. I said that was the opinion of labour. There is a suspicion in their minds, and usually where there is smoke there is fire.

The next words in the speech from the throne to which I wish to direct attention are these:

Our country will ever remember with pride the heroic exploits of Canada's fighting men and merchant seamen.

To-day Canada has a fairly large merchant marine. I have in my hand a booklet issued by the Minister of Transport, which states that at the present time there are about 180 large ocean-going cargo vessels, requiring skilled seamen to the number of some 12,000. The number of seamen in our merchant marine before the war, that is under government control, was 1,400. The wages paid at the present time by the crown company, Park Steamship company, under whose control most if not all of these vessels are operated, are also given in this booklet. I have raised the question of the wages paid on Park Steamship company vessels on a number of occasions in this house.

I have shown that they were out of line, being lower than the wages paid on any other line in Canada and away below those paid on similar vessels in the United States. The last time I spoke of this matter was on the estimates during the session of 1943. I am not sure whether or not the wages have been increased since that time, but the wages paid an able seaman as of 1944, according to the Minister of Transport, were, basic wage, $89.93 per month, with a war risk bonus of $44.50, making in all a wage of $134.43. Now I think there is an application by the Park Steamship company to discontinue the bonus.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Does my hon. friend know that to be true? I am the minister responsible for the Park Steamship company, and I am sure I have no knowledge of any such application from Park or anyone else. If my hon. friend is going to make that statement, which has been made several times, I hope he knows whether it is true. Has he ever seen the statement or application?

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

I have been so informed; I have not seen the statement.

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September 12, 1945