same time, the house, I am sure, will be interested in the information which has been furnished to the federal government as to the reality of the fire hazard which occasioned particular concern to the province.
I shall now read a copy of a letter from the Canadian Underwriters' association to the attorney general for Ontario, dated November 1, and a letter from the Canadian Underwriters' association to the premier of Ontario, dated November 2, copies of which were sent to the Minister of Justice in this government. The letter to the attorney general for Ontario is as follows:
November 1, 1945.
The Honourable the Attorney General tor the Province of Ontario,
Re-Ford Motors of Canada Limited, Windsor, Ontario
This association, through its sprinklered risk department has had to issue a bulletin to its members which reads in part as follows:
"The plant (of the Ford Company at Windsor) is entirely without fire protection. The fire pumps are out of commission, the gravity tank has been drained, the sprinkler systems have been drained and watchman's patrol service has been cut down to one supervisor and four men per shift.
"The fire alarm system is out of commission, and all lighting and power circuits throughout the plant have been disconnected. All yard hydrants are without water and the only protection at the moment is from inside chemical extinguishers. If the strike continues, these extinguishers will have to be emptied, otherwise the contents will freeze.
"We wish to draw your attention to the fact that there are in the basement, 5-storey office building, many hundreds of sprinkler' heads, which are pendant. These pendant nipples have not been drained, and apparently the union objects to men being assigned to do this. If severe weather conditions prevail, there is every chance that the water in these pendant nipples will freeze, which may result in the rupturing of the fittings, with cpnsequential damage to the ceiling and other equipment."
The situation is one of very serious concern not only for the insurance companies directly interested but also for all fire underwriters doing business in Canada.
Unless protection is afforded forthwith, a fire loss of calamitous proportions can readily occur. The insurance coverage on this particular plant amounts to $35,000,000.
In stressing the concern of the underwriters we would wish to respectfully draw to your attention that this association fully realizes that it is not called upon to take sides in the dispute between the owners and the employees, or to consider the merits of their respective contentions. They are, however, vitally interested in the fact that there is no protection at the plant and that they, as innocent third parties, might have to bear a tremendous loss. They definitely feel, therefore, that they are entitled to call [Mr. Hsley.l
upon the attorney-general of this province to see that the plant is protected against the fire-risk. This lack of protection has nothing to do with the rights of the -workmen to strike or can it have any legal bearing upon the settlement of the dispute. It must, however, be noted that if a serious loss occurs, quite apart from the exceedingly heavy pecuniary loss, workmen will be without employment for a long time to come.
This association, therefore believes that not only in the interest of its members but equally in the interest of the general public and of the workmen of Windsor, steps should be taken forthwith to ensure that the maintenance men who could reinstate the fire-fighting apparatus and all other protective equipment should be immediately allowed to return to the premises.
It might be well to note that a continuation of the present situation in this and possibly in other plants under similar circumstances would lead to a disruption of the present insurance rate structure and consequential heavy imposts upon the premium paying public of Canada.
In view of the foregoing this association is* bound to respectfully call upon the government of this province to take immediate steps to remedy the situation and to grant adequate protection at the plant in order that all necessary maintenance staffs be permitted to enter and leave unmolested.
Yours very truly,
The second letter is as follows:
November 2, 1945.
The Honourable George Drew, K.C.,
Prime Minister of the Province of Ontario,
Dear Mr. Prime Minister:
This association has written to the Honourable tha Attorney-General for the province of Ontario as per copy of letter annexed.
The situation is one of great danger and the necessity of immediate action to protect the plant against fire hazards cannot possibly be overstressed. A loss, under present circumstances, could involve the payment of $35,000,000 by the association members. It would also mean lack of employment for thousands of men in Windsor for a very long period of time. -It -is respectfully and urgently requested that steps be immediately taken to' afford protection to the maintenance men who should be allowed to reenter the plant in order to prevent the occurrence of an event which would be disastrous for the city of Windsor and the province of Ontario.
Yours very truly,
I asked the superintendent of insurance to make further inquiries to-day to find whether the situation had changed and to bring the report on the situation down to date. He made inquiries, I think of the Canadian
Underwriters' association, and as a result has sent me a memorandum which reads in part as follows:
Strike conditions have greatly increased the liability of the property to damage by fire.
Two elevated gravity tanks, the company's private water supply, and the yard hydrants are out of commission.
The entire plant is without protection except such as the Windsor brigade can afford but the distance from city water is so great and the mains are so small for a plant of this size that it is almost useless.
The only protection at the present time is fiom extinguishers but there is no heat on in the plant so that these are in danger of freezing and will have to be drained soon. All hand hose connections are now useless; there is no heat, light, power, or domestic water in the plant. The electrical alarms are all out of commission; the normal staff required to maintain protection in the plant is about forty men per shift, or 125 men in all, and this has now' been reduced to one supervisor and four men.
The plant's fire department and patrol cars are out of commission.
A big coal handling bridge is in danger from a pile of burning coal and the heat may buckle the bridge. The bridge is insured but the burning coal is not insured.
A gas reservoir with a capacity of one-half million cubic feet is water sealed and is now without any heat to prevent freezing; freezing may rupture the sides and allow the gas to escape.
I might also inform the house that the premier of Ontario called me by phone and suggested that perhaps something could be accomplished in the settlement of this dispute if the minister of this government would accompany a minister of his government to Windsor to see whether something could bp done. I suggested that the premier of Ontario support his telephonic request by a telegram, and I understand that a telegram came in after I entered the chamber, and I have not had an opportunity of seeing it. If the premier of Ontario in his telegram makes a request in accord with the request he made by telephone, this government will be prepared to have the Minister of Labour accompany a minister from the Ontario government to Windsor to see whether anything can be done, even at this stage, to settle the dispute.