April 8, 1948

CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacINNIS:

The Minister of Labour will have an opportunity to explain what has happened in the eases I have mentioned, and what action has been taken against those employers. My contention stands or falls on the explanation he gives the house in respect of those cases. If the explanation is satisfactory, then I believe the minister knows me well enough to realize that I will withdraw anything that would reflect either on him or his department.

When I spoke during the resolution stage I said I was receiving resolutions from employers organizations such as chambers of commerce and boards of trade giving advice to the government in regard to labour legislation. I have before me a copy of a telegram said to have been sent by the Vancouver board of trade to the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier), the Secretary of State (Mr. Gibson) -all of Ottawa-and to other individuals in British Columbia. I shall not read the whole of the telegram, but the part I shall read will be sufficient to direct attention to the point I am making. It states in part:

Further to Vancouver board of trade's recent letter recommending that federal and provincial governments co-operate to debar communists from holding office in labour unions in Canada . . .

That is not the full sentence, but as the rest of it does not matter I am abbreviating it in order to save time. I do not know exactly what it means. Is the government being asked to co-operate with the employers in order to prevent communists from holding office in labour unions in Canada? That is what it appears to me to mean. At the proper time I shall make my position clear with regard to the communist party of Canada and the Labour Progressive party, which is the communist party under another name. When I do that I shall not leave anyone in doubt as to where I stand in regard to those parties.

I suggest that if the government, and employers are going to co-operate in order to prevent communists from being officials of trade unions, they are in for a long job. They will have to stay in trade unions perhaps for a long time. But that is not the worst aspect of it. If this government says today, or acts as though it is saying, that individuals with certain political convictions cannot be members of trade unions, tomorrow it can take the same action in regard to members of other political parties. There is no way by which the government can act except by the adoption of the methods of the police state, to which I think all of us in this house are opposed.

If this parliament and this government will formulate correct policies, the trade unions of this country will take care of their own organizations. They are doing that already. I could give the house many examples if I wanted to take the time. I find this sentence

Industrial Relations

in a similar resolution passed by the Regina chamber of commerce:

The Regina chamber urges that a federal government supervised secret ballot be required in federal labour legislation, that the benefits of federal labour legislation be withheld from such organizations as are led by communists.

As I mentioned a moment ago, the government did take a supervised ballot in the industries I referred to, and yet the employers did not recognize that supervised ballot. What would be the situation and what action would the government take if after taking a supervised ballot the workers' organization did not recognize the validity of the vote? I eay again that we must have equitable treatment and just enforcement of the laws for employers and employees alike. That is all I wish to say at the present time.

I am afraid we are allowing ourselves to be intimidated, sometimes by one side and sometimes by the other. The government cannot allow that to continue if it wants to have its laws and administration respected, and I want to see laws and administration respected in Canada.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION, CONCILIATION AND SETTLEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES
Permalink
LIB

David Arnold Croll

Liberal

Mr. DAVID CROLL (Spadina):

Mr. Speaker, I have just a few observations to make on this bill. This bill is modelled on P.C. 1003, which, as this house knows, brought labour peace to this country in war time. With the widely differing provincial labour legislation that we have, there is a danger of labour war in peacetime. The house has already been informed that legislation was passed recently in Prince Edward Island which placed a ban on all but autonomous trade unions. It is true to say that the effect of that bill is virtually nil, since less than one thousand people will be affected, but I think it is well to note that the bill is a dangerous and disturbing one. It cuts under every labour principle that we understand. It is an attempt to punish all labour for the sins of the few. It is much like the Taft-Hartley bill in the United States.

One principle which above all others has been established for over a hundred years in Great Britain, and for a lesser number of years in this country, is that employees have the right to organize in a union of their own choice, free from employer control, and with a minimum of state interference. The Prince Edward Island bill places trade unions under licence which may well be cancelled on ministerial discretion. It is a dangerous bill. It points to a need that has been referred to in the house many times, the need of a national labour code to give guidance and to offset such ill-advise and retrograde legislation.

The provinces are ready to be guided; they are ready to accept dominion leadership. As a matter of fact reports in the press this morning indicate that the legislature of Ontario gave second reading to our labour bill which has not yet received second reading here. That legislature has shown that it is ready to adopt this bill holus-bolus.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION, CONCILIATION AND SETTLEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES
Permalink
PC

Karl Kenneth Homuth

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HOMUTH:

Was that surprising to you?

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION, CONCILIATION AND SETTLEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES
Permalink
LIB

David Arnold Croll

Liberal

Mr. CROLL:

No, I am encouraged by that sort of co-operation. I am just a little disappointed that more of it is not forthcoming from time to time from the provincial legislature. I think it is a great mark of respect and confidence and a wise move on their part. Those of us who are familiar with the wartime labour regulations, P.C. 1003, will recall that they laid down some fundamental principles which have found their way into provincial legislation.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION, CONCILIATION AND SETTLEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES
Permalink
PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. SMITH (Calgary West):

Did I understand the hon. member to say that yesterday the Ontario legislature gave second reading to this bill? I am anxious to know how they could do that when hon. members here have not yet seen it.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION, CONCILIATION AND SETTLEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES
Permalink
LIB

David Arnold Croll

Liberal

Mr. CROLL:

That was the objection taken by some of the members in the provincial house. It is reported in the Globe and Mail of this morning that one member said:

In fact it has not even passed in another ho-use. The whole matter is irregular and wrong.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION, CONCILIATION AND SETTLEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES
Permalink
PC

Karl Kenneth Homuth

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HOMUTH:

Let us get this thing clear. I think my hon. friend realizes that the legislation which was passed was enabling legislation which would bring the bill into force. The bill itself was not even there.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION, CONCILIATION AND SETTLEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES
Permalink
LIB

David Arnold Croll

Liberal

Air. CROLL:

My hon. friend is making it worse now. It is true that the bill itself was not there. No one had seen the bill. We got it yesterday. They had seen the previous bill. In spite of that, enabling legislation was passed by giving second reading to that bill. That is what I intended to say, and I thought I said it. I commend them for it-

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION, CONCILIATION AND SETTLEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES
Permalink
PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Air. SAIITH (Calgary West):

Not for this bill.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION, CONCILIATION AND SETTLEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES
Permalink
LIB

David Arnold Croll

Liberal

Air. CROLL:

No, for the bill that was passed previously. I said that wartime regulations had found their way into provincial labour legislation, and the hope is, of course, that any national labour code which we establish here in peace time shall stand as a model to these legislatures.

I realize that the government is disinclined to act with respect to the Prince Edward Island bill. I think our answer to it could be

Industrial Relations

to pass a bill which will be a model not only to Prince Edward Island but to the rest of the country.

There is one disturbing element in connection with the Prince Edward Island bill which has already been touched on today by the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Mac-Innis). That was the statement made by the minister who introduced the bill. The minister without portfolio, the promoter of the bill, said that "the bill was intended to keep communists out of the province." It has become quite popular lately to evoke the menace of communism in connection with anti-progressive legislation. I, too, oppose communism; but what I object to is the use of false and misleading motives for reaching a conclusion.

The hon. member for Vancouver East has just brought to the attention of the house the refusal of the Sarnia and Colonial steamship companies to deal with the Canadian seamen's union, which is the certified bargaining agency. They are using the same excuse as the one used by the minister in Prince Edward Island. It is a weakness in our collective bargaining machinery which we must, if at all possible, correct at the present session of parliament. A union's certification must mean something. For employers to flout that certification is a clear violation of the spirit of the laws that we pass.

So far as the bill outlaws company unions it is a forward step, because they have brought grief and mischief to this country. They are inconsistent with the principle that union organizations should be protected against employer influence.

The minister said that basically this was a middle-of-the-road bill. My purpose in speaking to it is to make sure that it stays in the middle of the road. It needs careful examination; it needs serious study. In my opinion the power given to the minister in this bill is far too wide. I think that power should be with the national labour board. The bill lacks a section to provide for the reinstatement of employees who are discharged. It was well brought out at the last hearing that a determined employer, if he was prepared to pay the price, could keep any man off the job if he so desired. Many unfair labour practices which are increasing from time to time are not sufficiently covered by the bill. The definition is too limited in its scope and application.

There is a section in the bill-I have not the bill before me; it is the wear-down section-which is particularly objectionable in that it permits the employer to challenge the union's certification time and time again before the board.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION, CONCILIATION AND SETTLEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES
Permalink
PC

Karl Kenneth Homuth

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HOMUTH:

Does not that mean year by year? You cannot do it every month.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION, CONCILIATION AND SETTLEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES
Permalink
LIB

David Arnold Croll

Liberal

Mr. CROLL:

There is no limitation on it- whenever he thinks they have not a majority. It is true that there is considerable provision in the bill for cool-offs and compulsory delays, but no one in this house believes that they are a permanent solution to collective bargaining. The bill is a good start. We must ask ourselves, is the bill fair? Will it promote labour peace? Will it increase government intervention in labour relations? With some modification, which I feel sure the committee will recommend, the bill ought to be acceptable as an honest effort. I am very happy to note that there is not much change between this year's bill and last year's, and that we are not attempting to mimic our friends to the south of us.

Given a chance, this bill will be improved by time and experience and I hope by the committee, and confirmed by the house. In my opinion it is a very good start.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION, CONCILIATION AND SETTLEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES
Permalink
CCF

Clarence Gillis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. CLARENCE GILLIS (Cape Breton South):

Mr. Speaker, I am not going to occupy very much of your time. I listened with a great deal of interest to the hon. member for Spadina (Mr. Croll), but I can never understand what he is driving at. He tore the bill to pieces for fifteen minutes, and wound up by approving it. I shall be interested in watching this thing in committee. I really thought the hon. member was going places until the wind-up, and then the old soft soap and salve were applied. He is a good friend of mine, and I hate to hurt him. I guess he is case-hardened.

I do not think this is the time or the place to discuss the bill section by section. The proper thing to do with it is to send it to the industrial relations committee. Because of the experience we had last year in dealing with a similar bill we have gained considerable knowledge, and in addition we gave the Canadian congress of labour the opportunity to prepare a code which they think is acceptable to the labour movement. We now have that to place alongside this bill "proposed by the minister. I think the committee will have a fairly good guide as to what is acceptable to labour. The proposal which the congress puts out is not an unreasonable one.

My purpose in rising at this time is to support to some extent what the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Maclnnis) had to say. I do not care what kind of legislation is brought down, unless it has an understanding administration it will not be any good to anyone. I was always opposed to judges and lawyers sitting in judgment on labour disputes.

Industrial Relations

They are all right in their field, but their field is not labour relations. Many of the difficulties in connection with legislation in the past have arisen from the fact that men who were trained in another field were given the responsibility of making decisions on matters with which they were completely unfamiliar. In their argument in support of the bill the Canadian congress of labour make that point very strongly. They say that the national labour relations board should be the supreme body in deciding what constitutes a violation of the code. After they make that decision the courts of the country could impose whatever penalties are laid down in the code.

I think the minister should consider that point very seriously, because when these matters are dragged through the courts there is delay, friction and frustration, and in many instances the intention of the legislation is defeated.

The hon. member for Spadina said that in Canada as well as in Britain certain principles had been laid down over the last ISO years with respect to labour relations. That is true, but the trade union movement in Canada is not comparable with the trade union movement in Britain. I do not think the hon. member would say he believes that the trade union movement in Canada should affiliate itself politically with the labour party of Canada, which is the group I belong to.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION, CONCILIATION AND SETTLEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES
Permalink
PC

Karl Kenneth Homuth

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HOMUTH:

Certainly he would not; neither would I.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION, CONCILIATION AND SETTLEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES
Permalink
CCF

Clarence Gillis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. GILLIS:

Nevertheless that is the position in Britain, and if you are to go by the principles enunciated by the British labour movement you will have to go all the way with them; otherwise there is no use in talking about it. In the second place, the constitutions of the British trade union movement are written, whereas our constitutions are based not upon conditions prevailing in that country, as are the constitutions there. Most of the constitutions that guide the destinies of the Canadian labour movement are written in the United States and are based upon American conditions because of our international affiliations.

Most of our large organizations that function in the basic industries of the country have their constitutions written over there and not in Canada, so that we have a much more difficult job ahead of us in designing legislation that will satisfy not only the Canadian movement but also to a large extent the United States movement, because they are definitely integrated with us in the field of labour relations. To a large extent also the movement in Canada is influenced from the

United States, and I say wrongly in many cases, because the conditions in the two countries are not the same.

Both the hon. member for Spadina and the hon. member for Vancouver East stated that the Canadian seamen's union was the certified bargaining agency to bargain with the shipping companies. I have had several letters and telegrams from sections of that organization, the Canadian seamen's union, with respect to their dispute with the Canadian lake seamen's union. I wrote to the Minister of Labour about two weeks ago asking him if he would give me the facts in this particular dispute. Was Pat Sullivan's union, so-called, a certified bargaining agency, and was the Canadian seamen's union the sole bargaining agency in that industry? The letter I received in reply was to the effect that Sullivan's union was not certified as the bargaining agency, but neither was the Canadian seamen's union; that they held a collective agreement with the shipping companies but were never certified as the bona fide bargaining agency supreme in that industry.

I would ask the minister to clarify that point because I have written to several unions of that organization who wrote to me and I gave them the minister's answer. If that is true, then the arguments put forward by the member for Spadina and the member for Vancouver East are not valid. If it is not true, I want to correct what I have written to the sections of the union that corresponded with me, in order to clarify the point; because I accepted the minister's advice and I thought that he should know.

I am not going to say more on this question. I am a member of the committee and I want to see the bill get into committee so that we may do the job. But, as I said a few days ago, I would ask the minister when he is replying to clarify that point, as to whether we have the power as a parliament to enact an over-all national labour code. I ask him to do that because there is grave doubt about it. The member for Spadina is a lawyer, and I wish he had elaborated that. It was our stumbling block last year. The general opinion in the committee was that we could enact only a code that would embrace radio, the harbours board and the railways. Beyond that we could not go.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION, CONCILIATION AND SETTLEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES
Permalink
PC

Karl Kenneth Homuth

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HOMUTH:

Unless we have provincial legislation.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION, CONCILIATION AND SETTLEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES
Permalink
CCF

Clarence Gillis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. GILLIS :

Unless we have the sanction of the provincial governments, and you will not get Quebec for a long time, so that it will not be national.

Industrial Relations

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION, CONCILIATION AND SETTLEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES
Permalink
PC

Harold Aberdeen Watson Timmins

Progressive Conservative

Mr. TIMMINS:

Look at what is happening in Ontario.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION, CONCILIATION AND SETTLEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES
Permalink
CCF

Clarence Gillis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. GILLIS:

I am not surprised at what is happening in Ontario. In my opinion, the reason why the Ontario minister of labour grabbed at it is clear. He took a look at it and said: It is ineffective anyway; it does not mean very much.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION, CONCILIATION AND SETTLEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES
Permalink
PC

Wilfrid Garfield Case

Progressive Conservative

Mr. CASE:

That is not the right spirit.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION, CONCILIATION AND SETTLEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES
Permalink

April 8, 1948