Mr. STANLEY KNOWLES (Winnipeg North Centre):
Before Your Honour leaves the chair I should like to speak for a few minutes on an important matter. It is not my intention to prevent the house from going into supply, but this may be my last opportunity during the present session to raise this matter. It is one which I have brought to the attention of the government on a number of occasions and in which I am deeply concerned. I regret that neither the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Usley) nor the Minister of Labour (Mr. Mitchell) is present at the moment, but perhaps if my remarks are noted, one of these ministers might give me an answer on the orders of the day to-morrow.
I have in mind the question of the pension rights of certain employees of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company in Winnipeg whose rights have been interfered with because of the 1919 strike. The remarks I need to make on this occasion can be brief. Following repeated representations which I made on the matter in -the house together with representations made by the unions to which these men belong, the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) finally, on April 12, 1945, during the last parliament, indicated to me that the government would give consideration to the establishing of a royal commission to investigate this matter. That intimation given by the Prime Minister was received with a great deal of hope by these men. They knew
C.P.R.-Pension Rights jor Strikers
of the efforts that the Prime Minister had made in connection with a similar situation a good many years ago and of the success that he had achieved on that occasion, and they and I have dared to believe that this matter might be dealt with expeditiously. However, the course followed by the government was to ask an employee in the Department of Labour to make a preliminary investigation to determine whether or not an investigation should be made by a royal commission. That information is not secret; it is known to all of us who are interested in the matter.
Early in this session, on September 10, as recorded at page 24 of Hansard, I asked the Prime Minister what progress had been made in connection with this preliminary investigation the purpose of which was to determine whether an investigation should be made by a royal commission. The Prime Minister's reply was to the effect that the Department of Labour official was at work on the matter and that he had indicated that he wished to proceed further with his investigation before submitting his final report.
Entirely apart from the long years that have elapsed since 1919, it is the feeling of the . men for whom I am speaking and my own feeling that there has been more delay than is necessary since the Prime Minister's intimation on April 12 ofthis year that consideration would be given to the appointment of a royal commission, and I hope that the Minister of Labour perhaps to-morrow will make a statement indicating whether or not the official of his department has yet made a report and whether something cannot soon be done to come to a decision whether or not a royal commission is to be set up. The case, Mr. Speaker, is one in which -I am not only deeply concerned, but I feel that if ever I were pleadiDg a just cause it is the cause of these men. That is the reason I have taken this opportunity, on what may be one of the last supply motions while I am here this session to raise this matter, because .1 regard it as extremely important. I hope that what I have said will be noted by the Minister of Labour and perhaps by the Prime Minister when he comes back, and that before I return from the trip on which I am being sent a decision will be made and this royal commission established, so that it can commence its work, in the hope that a decision favourable to the men involved might soon be made.