December 1, 1945

LABOUR CONDITIONS

UNEMPLOYMENT IN VANCOUVER-SHORTAGE OF SKILLED MEN IN INDUSTRY


On the orders of the day:


LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Hon. HUMPHREY MITCHELL (Minister of Labour):

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the hon. member for Vancouver-Burrard (Mr. Merritt),

gave notice of a question. I said at that time that while I could make a reply, perhaps it would be better to make a statement to-day.

I shall now do so. .

In answer to the first part of the question of the hon. member for Vancouver-Burrard, namely, as to what steps are being taken by the Department of Labour to overcome the shortage of skilled men in certain industries,

I would advise that under the Canadian vocational training plan extensive vocational training has been undertaken both in classes as well as "on the job," and in addition the provinces, including the province of British Columbia, a're assisted in extending apprenticeship plans.

Until quite recently it has been very difficult to interest men in training plans because work at good rates, without any particular training, was easy to obtain. The situation, however, has since changed and candidates are now coming forward and vocational training classes, are being organized as rapidly as possible. Already there are 12,641 in training in Canada and 1.081 in British Columbia.

In regard tb the second part of the question, which relates specifically to the employment situation in Vancouver, I should point out that the employment situation throughout Canada naturally has changed since V-J day, and now for the first time for several years there is a deficiency in the number of jobs available as compared with the number of unplaced applicants. The total is approximately 40,000.

Since V-J day, of course, there has been a very large cut-back in war manufacturing. On V-J day there were approximately 450,000 men and women engaged in war work, the majority of whom have since been laid off.

In addition, since V-J day approximately 240,000 men and women have been released from the armed forces. When these figures of lay-offs and discharges are considered, it is clear that the absorption of man-power in * civilian production and services has been very satisfactory.

Vancouver is one of the points in Canada where there are grounds for concern. The number of unplaced applicants as at November 29 was 14.680. The explanation is that Vancouver had a great deal of war work, principally shipbuilding, aircraft work and

Unemployment in Vancouver

work along the coast on defence projects by the governments of Canada and the United States, and consequently there has been a correspondingly heavy reduction in employment. Up to a few days ago there has been a big demand for men in the lumber camps, but the heavy snowfall has slowed up this activity. It was noticeable that when men were being sought, for lumber camps there were few willing to take this work, or indeed any work outside Vancouver.

There are still jobs available in mines and in other occupations outside Vancouver. The job opportunities are being advertised and men are assisted to move if they are without means to pay for their own transportation. Employers are being advised of particulars of the occupations of the men and women who are applying for jobs.

It is true that in Vancouver the shock of the change-over from war activity to production for civilian use has been somewhat greater than in some other parts of Canada. However, the view is held that the peak has probably been reached, that an improvement can be expected very soon, and that work will be

available for all, if not in Vancouver city

certainly at other points.

I would like to place on the record a set of figures which has just been issued by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics showing that the reduction in employment on October 1, 1945, as compared with September 1, 1945, despite the very great reduction in war work, was in nine leading industries only 2-2 per cent. This gives some idea, Mr. Speaker, of the resiliency and the powers of absorption of the Canadian industrial, commercial and agricultural structure.

In conclusion let me say that the government is concerned in regard to the situation in Vancouver and in several other cities in Canada, especially those which have had considerable war work. The present season is of course not favourable to commencement of new projects. The shortage of materials in many lines is creating difficulties, but no effort will be spared and I am satisfied that , early spring will see a great improvement in. the employment situation.

The table is as follows:

November 27, 1945.

Dominion Bureau of Statistics Employment and Payroll Statistics Ottawa

Summary of the October 1, 1945, Tabulation on Employment

Change from Sept. 1, 1945 Employees Percentage Index No. of employees (Decrease indicated by numbers reported at the minus sign)

Industry (1926-100) Oct. 1, 1945 No. P.C.Manufacturing .... 188-4 989.739 -53,281 - 5- *1Durable goods .... 197-3 461,018 -59,992 -11- [DOT]5Non-durable goods .... 182-3 508,291 .7,056 1- *4Electric light and power .... 160-2 20,421 - 345 - 1 [DOT]7Logging .... 205-2 61,968 77,201 13- 1Mining .... 143-6 67,631 - 117

. [DOT]2Coal mining .... 90-4 24,933 297 * 1- *2Communications .... 123-8 33,179 107 *3Transportation .... 127-3 164,463 - 1,346 [DOT]8Construction 159,798 975 [DOT]6Services 52,467 - 797 - 1- -5Trade 195,313 4,821 2- *5Eight leading industries .... 168-7 1,724,549 -42,437 - 2 [DOT]4Finance .... 134-0 69.372 2,054 3 [DOT]1Nine leading industries ,... 167-0 1,793,921 -40,383 - 2- *2

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT IN VANCOUVER-SHORTAGE OF SKILLED MEN IN INDUSTRY
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PC

George Black

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BLACK (Yukon):

I should like to say to the Minister of Labour that my information, received not later than this morning, is that there is a great surplus of men seeking employment in the lumber woods-far more than the operating lumber companies can employ, and that the unemployment situation

there is being aggravated by the discharge of many men from the army who do not belong in British Columbia and who did not enlist from that province. They should be sent to-where they enlisted or where they belong, rather 'than be permitted to aggravate the situation in British Columbia.

Trans-Canada Air Lines

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT IN VANCOUVER-SHORTAGE OF SKILLED MEN IN INDUSTRY
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TRANS-CANADA AIR LINES INCREASE OP CAPITAL-CREATION OP CORPORATION TO OPERATE SERVICES UNDER CONTRACT- CONSIDERATION OF SENATE AMENDMENTS


Hon. C. D. HOWE (Minister of Reconstruction) moved the second reading of and concurrence in amendments made by the senate to bill No. 21, to amend the Trans-Canada Air Lines Act, 1937. He said: The government agrees to these amendments, and the motion is now that the house concur. The amendments are entirely consistent with the existing practice. The first amendment provides that orders in council made under the act shall be tabled in the House of Commons. The second amendment is practically a quotation from The Canadian National Railways Act, of 1932, which requires an annual report from the company. The third amendment requires that the reports of the board of directors and the auditor respectively be tabled in parliament.


PC

Grote Stirling

Progressive Conservative

Mr. STIRLING:

I understand these are beneficial amendments.

Topic:   TRANS-CANADA AIR LINES INCREASE OP CAPITAL-CREATION OP CORPORATION TO OPERATE SERVICES UNDER CONTRACT- CONSIDERATION OF SENATE AMENDMENTS
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

At least they are not harmful.

Topic:   TRANS-CANADA AIR LINES INCREASE OP CAPITAL-CREATION OP CORPORATION TO OPERATE SERVICES UNDER CONTRACT- CONSIDERATION OF SENATE AMENDMENTS
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PC

Grote Stirling

Progressive Conservative

Mr. STIRLING:

May I draw attention of the house to the fact that we have had no warning of these amendments, and only at this moment have heard their contents. They may be quite beneficial but I think we ought to know more about them and should have an opportunity to consider them.

Topic:   TRANS-CANADA AIR LINES INCREASE OP CAPITAL-CREATION OP CORPORATION TO OPERATE SERVICES UNDER CONTRACT- CONSIDERATION OF SENATE AMENDMENTS
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Very well; allow it to stand.

Motion stands.

The house in committee of supply, Mr. Golding in the chair.

Topic:   TRANS-CANADA AIR LINES INCREASE OP CAPITAL-CREATION OP CORPORATION TO OPERATE SERVICES UNDER CONTRACT- CONSIDERATION OF SENATE AMENDMENTS
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DEPARTMENT OP FISHERIES


72. Departmental administration, $163,760.


LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

"Mr. Chairman, there is one matter I should- like to draw to the attention [DOT]of the Minister of Fisheries. I do not expect he will be able to give a definite answer at the moment, but I would ask him to give [DOT] some thought to it between now and the :next session. I refer to the offshore fisheries

close-I mean within ten or fifteen miles- of the shores of the United States in order to fish. After some investigation they passed a bill this year to take care of offshore fishing beyond the three-mile limit.

It may be remembered that prior to the outbreak of the war, Japan sent mother ships down along the Alaska and British Columbia coasts. These ships returned home with great quantities of canned salmon. The war interfered with their activities, but under international law we had no control of any ships beyond the three-mile limit. The United States became greatly alarmed at what had taken place in Alaska bay. The Japanese had many ships in that bay, and strange to say when they were accused of this there was an official denial by the government of Japan. The fishermen there knew what was going on, and they went to the expense of hiring an aeroplane which took photographs of the Japanese actually fishing in Alaska bay.

Very few nations have gone to -the trouble of rehabilitating or preserving or regulating their fisheries. Most nations, including Japan, have only one thought in their minds, to secure all the fish possible and market them. Here is what the United States have done, and I quote from a dispatch dated September 28:

President Truman announced to-day the United States government has decided to regulate and control fisheries on the high seas contiguous to the United States. The new policy will safeguard the valuable Alaska salmon fishery, he said. .

The order provided for establishment, under recommendation of the interior and state departments, of fishery conservation zones, in areas of the high seas contiguous to the United States coast.

Until -the present the only high seas fisheries in which the United States has participated in regulating are those for whales, Pacific halibut and fur seals.

"In areas where fisheries have been or hereafter shall be developed and maintained by nationals of the United States alone," the White House said, "explicitly bounded zones will be set up in which the United States may regulate and control all fishing activities."

In areas where the nationals of other countries may be involved, the announcement continued, zones will be established by agreements and joint regulations made effective.

This new policy, the White House asserted will enable the United States "to protect ' effectively, for instance, its most valuable fishery, that for'the Alaska salmon."

"Uncontrolled fishery activities^ of this and other countries," the statement said, "have constituted an ever-increasing menace to the salmon fishery."

My suggestion is that the minister give this matter serious thought. When the salmon which are hatched and reared at great expense

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F isheries

by our government head out through Juan de Fuca strait, they feed for the next two or three years probably fifteen to twenty miles out. There is nothing to prevent the fishermen of any country from coming in there and destroying or taking the entire catch.

There is another matter I should like to bring to the attention of the minister. The waters of Hecate strait between the Queen Charlotte islands and the mainland of British Columbia should be declared Canadian waters. This strait is eighty or more miles wide, but it lies between the Queen Charlotte islands, which is Canadian territory, and the mainland. Considerable fishing is done in these waters, and at present under international law they are open to United States, Japan or any other nation. I know that if these waters had been contiguous to the United States they would long before this have been declared United States waters.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OP FISHERIES
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PC

John Ritchie MacNicol

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacNICOL:

I agree with the hon.

member. Why have they not been declared to be Canadian waters? Our territory should extend to' three miles beyond the Queen Charlotte islands.

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LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

I do not know. I understand that some years ago the Canadian government attempted to declare the waters of Hecate strait as Canadian .waters for the purposes of control. Apparently in those days we were a little afraid to take a bold stand, and the matter was dropped. However, it is my opinion that if we had then declared these waters to be Canadian waters, no country would seriously dispute our stand.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OP FISHERIES
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PC
LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

The matter is serious. When we consider the future I think we must realize that now is the time for us to declare to other countries that these waters are Canadian. We should also be ready to cooperate with the United States government, who have declared that the waters contiguous to Alaska will be open to fishing only to United States fishermen. I wanted to bring these matters to the. attention of the minister so that he may consider them between sessions. I urge that Canada cooperate with the United States and that we follow their example.

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PC

Douglas King Hazen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HAZEN:

Mr. Chairman, there are a few matters I should like to bring to the attention of the Minister of Fisheries, and there are one or two questions I should like to ask. Before I do so, I should like to take this opportunity to congratulate him upon being appointed to the position he now holds in the government of Canada. I think the

Prime Minister made a wise choice in selecting him for that office. It is a matter of satisfaction, I believe, not only to the members from New Brunswick who sit on the government side but also to the members from that province who sit on the opposition side, that the hon. member for York-Sunbury was appointed to this responsible position.

I call it a responsible position, but I notice that not long ago a Toronto newspaper, commenting on the appointment, said that the fisheries post was not one, to say the least, that involved great responsibilities. I do not-agree with that statemefit. I believe the minister has great responsibilities. It is his responsibility and duty to assist in conserving, developing and improving the fishing resources and fishing industry of this country in order that an improvement may be made in the living conditions of tens of thousands of men who are primary producers and who make their living from the harvest of the sea. I think that is a great responsibility.

When the estimates of the Minister of Public Works were before the committee a few days ago I pointed out to him the necessity of certain repairs being made to wharves at fishing villages along the shores of the bay of Fundy. I have already written to the Minister of Fisheries about repairs 'hat are necessary and I do not think I should take up the time of the committee now by going into details. As the minister knows, repairs are necessary at Chance harbour, at Lorneville, and at other harbours along the shore. They are urgently needed by the fishermen of these different communities. In addition to these repairs it is essential that dredging be done at Dipper harbour in New Brunswick.

There is another matter I wish to refer to and in connection with which I want to make a suggestion to the minister. I suggest that he take steps to have established lobster hatcheries along the shores of New Brunswick. I will go further and say. in the maritime provinces. I understand that at one time a good many years ago lobster hatcheries were established in the maritimes and later they were abandoned. I would ask the minister not. to be discouraged by the fact that these lobster hatcheries were done away with at that time; for if he will look into the matter he will find that in the state of Maine, which admins New Brunswick, lobster hatcheries that were established some time ago have proved a great success. Not only have they benefited fishermen in the state of Maine and along the New England shores, but they have also

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benefited the fishermen on the Island of Grand Manan, which is part of New Brunswick.

The lobster industry is an important one, and it could be, made much more important than it is to-day. To illustrate the size of the business, I may-say that at St. Andrew's in Charlotte county there is being shipped this year by one firm lobsters to the value of $3,500,000. It is big business, and it could be made larger. It therefore deserves encouragement.

There is a. member of this house who knows a great deal more about this matter than I do, and that is the member for Charlotte, New Brunswick (Mr. Stuart). For a good many years he has been intimately connected with the fish business in more ways than one, and I am sure he will back me up in urging the minister to establish lobster hatcheries in the maritime provinces in the interests of our fishermen and in order to add to the wealth of the dominion.

There are one or two items under the war appropriation estimates, if I may so describe them, on page 553 of Hansard, about which I should like to ask the minister a question.

I do not expect him to answer now, but I think we should have some information on these subjects before he gets through with his estimates. One of the items I have in mind is a sum of $1,200,000 to provide for payment of subsidies in connection with the purchase of Canadian canned salmon. I should like to have a statement from the minister about the amount of subsidies paid, to whom , paid, the quantity of salmon represented, and where that salmon was disposed of. Another item about which I should like to have some information is the one that is worded "operation of experimental long line fishing vessel, $50,000''. Will the minister tell us what that experiment was, where it was held, what the results were, and so on?

I asked the Minister of Fisheries when the Fisheries Act was up about fishery inspectors and fishery guardians, and at that time I referred to a case at Shediac, New Brunswick. A fishery inspector had resigned his position in order to take up a job with the provincial government. The position was not advertised by the civil service commission, but a man whose name it is not necessary to mention was given the job. I understand from what the minister said that he knew about that' case and that the job was only a temporary one. I understood that ultimately the position would be advertised. What I should like to know is this. How long are these positions to be kept open in this way or filled tempor-

arily before they are advertised by the civil service commission. It seems to me that if a man gives up a position of this kind the proper course is to advertise it right away or very soon after it is relinquished. In this particular case an application was made for the job by a man who had served four years overseas and had been wounded in the fighting in France. He was told, if I have the facts correctly, that the position would be ultimately advertised, but in the meantime somebody else was given- the job, a man who had never served overseas. What I fear is that the man who had no service overseas will get the preference, when these examinations are held, if he is kept there long enough; that the examiners will say7 that his qualifications are so much higher, that he knows so much more about the work than the man who returned from- overseas, that it will not be an overseas man that gets the job. If our men who served overseas are to have the preference, as I think they should have, that situation is not right. I have here a clipping with reference to a meeting of the Legion, held in the city of Montreal, in which there is reported a resolution passed at that meeting. The clipping is from the Montreal Star. The resolution urged that all temporary7 employees of the dominion civil service be placed in examinations in competition with veterans and t.hat a representative of the provincial command of the Canadian Legion should be on the examining board. That resolution was

passed without dissent at a meeting of R.M.R. branch No. 14 of the Legion, held at West-mount Armoury.

I am interested in this particular case because I want to see a returned man, a man who served overseas, get the appointment. I believe a returned man is entitled to it and should get it in preference to one who did not go overseas. I do not ask the minister to make a statement now, but I would ask him to look into the matter and see that the position is advertised and that, so far as it lies in his power, he see to it that a man who served overseas gets the appointment.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OP FISHERIES
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PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BROOKS:

I wish to take only a few

minutes of the time of the committee. I must confess I am not very well versed in the subject of fisheries; my constituency is an inland constituency. When I was the sole New Brunswick representative of my party from 1935 to 1940 I did make some study7 of the fishing situation, though possibly I succeeded only in showing how little I knew about it. But I was very much interested in the subject.

Supply-Fisheries

I want to take this opportunity of adding my congratulations to those of the hon. member for Saint John-Albert, on the minister's appointment. I feel that these felicitations come with very good grace from the hon. member for Saint John-Albert, because it is entirely due to him that the minister has his position to-day. The fact is that he defeated the candidate who was supposed to be the minister from the province of New Brunswick. When the present minister was appointed there were people unkind enough to say that it was "Hobson's choice". Let me say immediately that that is not at all my opinion.

I feel that the minister compares favourably with men from that province who have held the position on previous occasions, and I am sure he compares favourably with many of the other present members of the cabinet. I might add, though, Mr. Chairman, that that compliment can be taken for whatever it is worth.

The hon. member for Saint John-Albert said that the minister in charge of fisheries had great responsibility. There is no question about that. I would also point out that he is not only the xMinister of Fisheries, but also the minister representing the province of New Brunswick. We have had good reason to complain over the past years of the lack of attention which the government and ministerial representatives from our province have given to our affairs. I sincerely hope, and I wish to impress this upon the present occupant, that we shall receive better treatment in the future, and that his attention will be directed not only to his department but to everything which pertains to the benefit of the province of New Brunswick. I assure him that if he does so he will have every assistance which can be given by hon. members on this side of the house.

The matter upon which I wish to speak for a few moments is that of markets for our fisheries. During the war years Canadian fisheries have been prosperous; we have been able to sell our produce in good markets, and have received good prices. For many years before the war this was not so. Fisheries, in the maritime provinces at least, languished for lack of markets, and I hope one of the chief concerns of the minister and the government will be to provide markets for our fish. The war made it impossible for many other countries, including Norway, Great Britain, Newfoundland to a great extent, and Iceland, to carry on their normal fishing, industries. This was not altogether true in our case, although we lost a good many men to the army who otherwise, probably, would have been carrying on this occupation.

In connection with the problem of providing markets, I wish to ask the minister a question, to which he can reply when he answers other questions which have been and will be asked. Is an investigation being made in his department of the possibility of transporting fresh fish from the maritimes to the larger centres in Quebec and Ontario? I believe that this could be done profitably by plane, and that, with the general use of the aeroplane to-day as a method of transport, the matter of transporting fresh fish should be given very careful consideration. As we all know, it is almost impossible to obtain fresh fish in cities like Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto. What goes as fish up here is something at which we in the maritimes would be inclined to turn up our noses in scorn. The people of these provinces do not. know what the taste of fresh fish is like, and I am satisfied that if an effort were made to increase the fresh fish market in the central part of Canada, it would be of great benefit to the industry.

There is also the matter of the South American and West Indian markets. Our maritime people lost those for a number of. years, but there is a great possibility of opening up in South America particularly a market for cured fish which would be of great benefit to the fisheries of our part of Canada.

The hon. member for Saint John-Albert spoke about, preference for returned men, in the fisheries department particularly; but it applies to all departments. I know that the committee on veterans affairs which is sitting at the present time is very anxious that this preference shall be honoured. I think that in the past the principle has been fairly -well observed by the government, but there have been exceptions, and we have felt that the act has been got around in many cases. I had occasion to write to the minister the other day about a young man who was applying for an appointment with his department. He is not an overseas man in the sense in which we use the term, but he was a member of the merchant marine and also volunteered for active service but due to low category only served in Canada. We all know that the merchant marine played an important part in winning the war; they were engaged in a most hazardous occupation. Many men . who served in the armed forces did not suffer the hardships and privations endured by the men of the merchant marine, nor did they encounter any more dangers. I hope therefore that the men of the merchant marine will be considered when civil service appointments are being made.

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Topic:   DEPARTMENT OP FISHERIES
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December 1, 1945