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
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.
Subtopic: INVESTIGATION, CONCILIATION AND SETTLEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES