Mr. L. E. BAKER (Shelburne-Yarmouth-C'lare):
Mr. Speaker, it was my privilege to be a member of the industrial relations committee, and I cherish that privilege, because I have come out much wiser and greatly benefited as a result of what I learned there. I
did not go there as a labour expert; I regarded myself as one of the representatives of the general public. I may say that it was very encouraging and it increased my faith in human nature when we came to our conclusions and found men of all parties in this house getting together and working out the final basis for our report without any partisan bias whatever. I say that without equivocation.
Various comments have been made on our findings and conclusions; some of them are flattering, some not. As a matter of fact the greatest value, I believe, which came out of this committee was the general publicity which was given throughout the length and breadth of the land to labour-management affairs.
I have no particular brief for either labour or management. I think that there are good union leaders; as a matter of fact, the majority are; but on the other hand, in all fairness- and we must be fair in these matters-we must admit that there are also good employers. Throughout the industrial history of Canada and the United States, employers have done much, in many cases, to help the conditions of the employees. So that we must not put all the blame on one side. In some of the present disputes, I believe, blame is unquestionably to be put on both sides. This was proven by evidence which we heard in the committee.
We are going through what I would call the struggle for Canada's destiny. It started in 1939, and it is not over yet. I divide it into phases. There was the war; there is the transitional period; and there is the time to come. I will liken it to an attack. We have reached our first objective; we have won the war. There is no question that it is harder to win a permanent and lasting peace than it is to win a war. The fact is that such a thing as a permanent and lasting peace has never yet been won. Our second objective is winning the peace, which will mean prosperity, freedom and happiness throughout Canada. At the moment we have reached an intermediate objective, the transitional period through which we are now passing; and in order to win a final peace-I mean an industrial peace as well as a cessation of gunfire- we must be strong to go ahead.
At the present time we are beset with enemies, the enemy of inflation, the enemy of distrust, the enemy of impatience. What have we done? We cannot allow inflation to develop, and so for this intermediate objective we have formed what we call the Gordon line. The Gordon line may bend here and there; a salient may be driven into it here and there, but we cannot allow that Gordon line to break. If we do, the enemy inflation will break through the gap and
swallow up the farmer, the fisherman, the pensioner and all people living on small earned incomes. We cannot allow that to happen, and so we in this House of Commons have to be the cohorts of Mr. Gordon to help him hold the line. As I say, the line may have to bend a little here and there. All right; how are we going to advance from there?
In modern warfare you put down a heavy artillery fire preparatory to your ground forces moving ahead to the next objective. What is our plan to be? Press relations, informing the public as to what is going on, are very important. Our artillery in holding the Gordon line consists of the press. The large city newspapers lay down the heavy artillery, and the small town dailies and the country newspapers, weeklies and magazines are the medium and field artillery. What do you do in an attack? You direct all your artillery to the main target area. That is just what we must do. We must direct our artillery fire in a definite direction; the fire must be properly directed and be accurate. Therefore I say to the press: direct your fire properly to the right target and be sure you direct it accurately.
So far as the committee is concerned the press, generally speaking, particularly those members of it who sat in from day to day at our meetings, was accurate and fair, but there have been many editorials that have been unfair and I have seen unfair criticisms. We must remember that the rounds that fall short are the dangerous ones. One or two rounds did fall short and pretty nearly hit the Minister of (Labour (Mr. Mitchell) but did him no harm because he looks hale and hearty still. But it was most unfair of the press to let those rounds fall short, and I hope that they will be more accurate in their fire in future. The Minister of Labour has done and is doing a good job, and we want him to stay on and to receive all the encouragement he can get. I feel reasonably optimistic about the future, because Canada is a great country. Canadians are wonderful people individually, and all we have to do is to learn to be that way collectively. The press, properly directed, can help to bring that about. I have great faith in the future of Canada because of the press, but only by the press directing their fire accurately can we come to a happy understanding and have peace and prosperity throughout the length and breadth of Canada.
I am not going to compliment the members of the committee individually. I think they all worked hard and that they were very sincere in what they did. I could pick out
certain stars of the team, but I shall not do that because the sounds they want to hear are not sweet words about themselves but the music of the humming wheels of industry turning again and friendly and civil talk between the leaders in management and labour. I maintain that the press can also help there.
I shall not take up any more time, because a good deal of the ground has already been covered and one or two able speakers are to follow me. But I did want to make that point about the press. The members of the press who were in the committee room with us working long and tedious hours were gallant gunners, and so in conclusion, with respect to labour-management relations and in their relations to the dominion government I would say: Praise the press and pass the information.
Subtopic: CONSIDERATION OF SECOND REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE-MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE