Hon. HUMPHREY MITCHELL (Minister of Labour):
I wish to lay on the table copies of order in council P.C. 6481, passed on October 11, 1945, which provides that effective from twelve o'clock noon to-day, October 12, the dominion government has taken over control of the packing plants of Bums and Company at Winnipeg, Prince Albert, Regina, Edmonton and Vancouver.
Under the order the government has appointed Mr. J. G. Taggart, chairman of the meat board, as controller of these plants. The government made this decision because it was apparent that strike action was contemplated by the employees of these plants for Monday, October 15, and in view of the grave consequences which would result from any interruption of meat shipments to Britain and *other European countries.
The reasons were explained to the management and to Mr. Fred Dowling of the united packinghouse workers of America, CI.O., and to Mr. A. R. Mosher, president of the Canadian congress of labour.
The order in council requires that the company and the union shall proceed with negotiations towards a mutually satisfactory settlement of their dispute without delay, in accordance with regulations.
In all probability deputy controllers will be appointed for each branch plant. Provision for this is made in the order.
Even if Canada succeeds in keeping up the present rate of meat exports, there is a danger of many persons dying from starvation in Europe this winter. Break-down in negotiations between employers and employees in respect to working conditions in packing plants, to the point where it means a stoppage of work, creates a national emergency which under the circumstances I think would be considered by most Canadians as little short of criminal.
I am convinced that both parties to the dispute will accept the intervention of the government and that the plants will continue to operate.
On the orders of the day:
Subtopic: TAKING OVER OF BURNS PACKING PLANTS AND APPOINTMENT OF CONTROLLER