June 14, 1948

?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Go on.

Housing Accommodation for Members

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PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. SMITH (Calgary West):

Then I shall detain the house for only a very few minutes longer. I am not suggesting for one moment the expenditure of money of the Dominion of Canada for the financial benefit of members of the House of Commons. What I am proposing is this, that the scheme should be completely self-liquidating. My suggestion is -it is definitely and seriously made; and it may not help some of us older fellows; that is perfectly true-that we should have some housing, without all this nonsense which we have to go through when we come here to Ottawa. We should be charged rentals sufficient to carry the thing, and to liquidate it over a period of years.

I know this cannot be done at once. My thought is this: why can we not begin with one block of flats? For example, a man and his wife would want two bedrooms, a kitchenette and a living room, and that is all. Let us pay for it for the months we are not here, if necessary. But sir, with the greatest respect I do say that those of us who come from distances and who bring our wives with us require accommodation. For example, this year with a stroke of good luck I have a small house. I should say the hon. member for Calgary East (Mr. Harkness) got it, and our two families are sharing it. I admit I could not have better joint tenants in the world than these two people.

But to my mind it is just complete nonsense to ask us to come here without accommodation-and, of course, nobody asked us. We ran elections, and then we had to come. I do not mind admitting that before I came here in January I sold the house in which I had lived for something more than twenty years. I had to do that. W7hy? I could not close it up; if I had, the newspapers would have been full of letters saying that, in view of the housing shortage, for closing my house I should be hanged, drawn and quartered at dawn. And probably that would be right.

I had rented the house. But, even in the case of renting it to friends, those friends had children, and some of the furniture which probably we were proud of-well, it came out second best in the struggle.

I do not want this laughed off, because it is a suggestion well worth consideration. We could experiment, anyway. Let us, for example, consider some of the members whose wives are not here. Why not give them a place where they could have single rooms, baths and kitchenettes. Make them pay for that accommodation. But let us have a place here where we can anchor.

Has anyone ever thought about those of us who come from distances; have they thought

about what we have to do? We have to move all sorts of truck back and forth. There is no place where we can store it-unless we place it in storage. Sometimes we do that. I am not talking about the money angle of the matter; I am talking about the bother.

We are now sitting in Ottawa for about six months each year. We are now all rushing to see if we can get accommodation on the trains to go home. I have tried to get accommodation for the 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th and 27th- accommodation for myself on the main line trains.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce; Minister of Reconstruction and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Try the air lines.

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PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. SMITH (Calgary West):

I am unlike the minister, because I hate flying. He loves it, because he gets a degree at the end of every trip he takes. So he ought to love it. But, so far as flying is concerned, with me flying is out. I came east twice on big planes. But I started that too late in life, because when the plane went down I lifted it up; when it rolled this way I pushed it back that way. I was never so busy in my life, never worked so hard-and I had to cancel all my appointments next day.

I admit I am a coward-but I am through with flying. I will not do it any more. It is all right for young fellows like the minister- particularly with the rewards he gets at the end of each trip. So, that will do, so far as the flying part of it is concerned.

I now close with this simple statement. I think there are many hon. members who come short distances who would like single rooms where they could leave their baggage if there was an Easter holiday. Then they would not have to give up their rooms in the hotels. But certainly those of us who come from long distances are entitled to something which would not cost the people of Canada a cent. Every time we get a little raise in pay, which incidentally does not even compare with the rise in the cost of living; every time we get anything of that sort there is a holler. So far as I am concerned, let them holler. But they would have no holler, because I would charge sufficient money that there would not be a burden of one five-cent piece upon the treasury of the Dominion of Canada.

I do not suggest that the minister can do a great deal this year, but he can give my suggestion consideration and let us have his well considered views when his estimates come up. If he does not do that when he comes to bat before this House of Commons I am going to start recruiting around here to see what we can do to give him a rough ride.

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LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Hon. ALPHONSE FOURNIER (Minister of Public Works):

Mr. Speaker. I was quite

Housing Accommodation for Members

surprised at this new idea advanced by the hon. member for Calgary West (Mr. Smith).

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LIB

James Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR:

They do it in Washington.

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LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. FOURNIER (Hull):

They may.

There is something in what the hon. gentleman says about the government providing housing for members of parliament. The hon. gentleman says that when he comes from afar to Ottawa he has trouble in finding a flat or an apartment or a house. That condition exists all over the country, not only for members of parliament. There are a lot of other people who complain, and perhaps with reason.

AVhy the hon. member undertook to ask me to put up houses for members of parliament I do not know. We have never had any such problem to handle in my department. Perhaps it is a question that could be studied by the architects in the department, and then perhaps we could get a consensus of the members of the House of Commons to see how many would agree to that suggestion. I do not know whether a majority would want to be directed to lodgings when they come to Ottawa. They would hardly have a choice if it was to be a compulsory system. If it is to be on a voluntary basis, then we would want to know whether we could rent these houses to other people or whether the members of parliament would be segregated. We would have to make quite a study of this new idea.

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PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. SMITH (Calgary West):

I was

referring to flats, not houses.

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LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. FOURNIER (Hull):

Apartments or flats. However I was drawn into the discussion and I shall consider it. The hon. member has directed his suggestion to the Minister of Public Works and has said that if it is not considered seriously my estimates will get a ride. I am always ready to be ridden, if that is what he means.

I do not know whether he has addressed his remarks to the right minister. There has been a lot of housing under government control since the war and I have not touched any of it. Perhaps the suggestion should have been addressed to another minister, but it may be that the hon. member has made so many suggestions to that minister that he feels it is time for a change. However I am going to consider his suggestion, and anything he wishes to ask me when my estimates are up I shall do my best to answer.

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PC

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. ROWE:

He thinks you may be able to build better houses than the other minister.

Mr. FOURNIER (Hull)': He has been building some pretty good houses.

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PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. SMITH (Calgary West):

You are acquainted with him and I hope you will let him know about what you and I have said.

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LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. FOURNIER (Hull):

I never thought the hon. member was so bashful.

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IND

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

Independent C.C.F.

Mr. H. W. HERRIDGE (Kootenay West):

Mr. Speaker, I wish briefly to express my support of the remarks of the hon. member for Vancouver North (Mr. Sinclair) in connection with the flood disasters in certain parts of British Columbia. I agree with his suggestion in respect to the necessity for immediate relief and also for long-range planning to remedy this situation in the future. The hon. member described most accurately the causes of this flooding in British Columbia. The same causes have produced previous floods on the Columbia river. In 1894 we had a flood identical with the one this year and from the same causes. In that year there existed at the headwaters of the Fraser and Columbia the same causes as exist today, heavy snowfalls and sudden hot weather.

We have been more fortunate in my constituency up to date than they have in the Fraser valley, but considerable damage has been done with farm lands and industrial sites flooded. The main point of danger has been the 'lower portion of the city of Trail and East Trail, where several blocks in the business area have been flooded and where a number of houses in the area along the riverbank have been flooded. Through the excellent co-operation between the city of Trail, the reserve army and other organizations in the community, along with that of all the people, young, middle-aged and old, they have been successful in building sandbag dikes to hold the river back and prevent a major catastrophe.

In this connection the people of my constituency, particularly the people of Trail, wish me to express their appreciation of the assistance that has been given to date by various federal agencies, other communities and particularly the Royal Canadian Air Force which flew in urgently needed sand bags. I rise at this time to make two points. I agree with the necessity for immediate federal and provincial assistance to those who have suffered in the Fraser river area.

The point I wish to make is this. As a result of the announced policy of the government to consider the Fraser valley disaster a national disaster, there may be a tendency in some quarters to run to the federal government to ask for assistance for every small unfortunate happening throughout Canada. We should try to keep our perspective. We should formu-

Floods in British Columbia

late and support a policy that defines a national disaster as a disaster which is beyond the capacity of the province concerned to meet adequately in so far as the expenses of immediate assistance are concerned.

I support the action of the federal government in declaring the Fraser valley floods to be a national disaster, but I do hope that, as a result of that declaration, every village or community will not be pressing upon this government their difficulties as a national disaster. I know our people have enough spirit; I certainly know they have in the riding I have the honour to represent, to meet minor difficulties. I have received letters pointing out the co-operation by all classes and ages and elements in the community. I am informed it has been an inspiration to watch these people fighting together a common danger, the rising waters of the Columbia river.

I am sure that, where difficulties arise on a lesser scale than what should be considered a national disaster, our people have enough spirit, enough spunk and enough local cohesion to mend their own fences. Now that the federal government has declared the Fraser valley disaster a national disaster, I hope that every isolated farm which is flooded will not be brought to the attention of the federal government as a national disaster. That is all I have to say with regard to immediate assistance.

Long-range planning of the type mentioned by the hon. member for Vancouver North to control these floods and to provide for the conservation of these waters is, I think, a matter that comes under federal jurisdiction to the extent that the federal government and the provinces must combine to work out a long-range solution for the control of these flood waters. So far as the Columbia is concerned, as the hon. member for Vancouver North has mentioned there are two of the largest dams in the world on that river. At the present time a joint board of engineers working under the direction of the joint international commission is making a survey of the river, both in the United States and in Canada, both in the United States section and in the Canadian section there is a survey of that river proceeding with regard to building secondary dams to hold back the flood waters in the mountains, and major dams on the main portion of the river for the purpose of conserving those waters both for the development of power and for irrigation. In that respect the problem is to a great extent a national problem.

I do think, Mr. Speaker, that out of this flood disaster on the Fraser river and the near

disaster on the Columbia river we can derive some inspiration to work together and solve this problem jointly as between federal and provincial governments; federal, provincial and local authorities co-operating together to harness the powers of nature, so that they will not in future be a menace but will serve mankind to great advantage.

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LIB

Thomas Reid (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. THOMAS REID (New Westminster):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to commend the hon. member for Vancouver North (Mr. Sinclair) for bringing up this subject tonight and for the able manner in which he laid the whole picture before the house. As one who was out in British Columbia during the flood and flew over the district three times at a low altitude, I can say it has to be seen to be realized how great the catastrophe is. I thought, after the speech by the hon. member for Vancouver North, we might have had some statement from one of the ministers regarding what is going to be done. The waters are beginning to recede, it is true, but the great task of rehabilitation lies before that whole country, and as one coming from that country I would like the ministry to be good enough to tell the house what steps are being taken by the dominion government, in co-operation with the provincial government, in the matter of rehabilitation.

I know that many statements were made during the flood, and many wild statements, too, as to the reasons for the disaster. Perhaps I can give the house an idea of the seriousness of the situation by describing what took place at Hell's Gate canyon. That is where the International Pacific Salmon Fisheries built their fisheries. Three weeks ago the floor of it was dry. The fisheries are sixty feet high. Inside of eleven days the water rose 128 feet in the canyon and swept away the suspension bridge and all the little buildings around it. When one listened to the suggestions made to keep the flood waters back one realized that those who made those suggestions had no conception whatsoever of the great and sudden rise that had taken place in the Fraser river waters.

Hundreds of people have been driven from their homes and, as has been pointed out by the hon. member for Vancouver North, they are wondering what is to be done. Many of them will not be able to go back to their places for months. It will take time for the waters to recede, and there are districts where the water will have to be pumped out back into the Fraser river.

I was hoping that the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Fournier) or some other minister would tell the house and the country what

Floods in British Columbia

governmental committees have been set up. There have been many volunteer committees set up, and I want to commend the wonderful spirit shown by thousands of our citizens who not only gave of their time and labour but contributed to their utmost as well.

We look to the future and ask what is to be done. I am one of those who believe it might be advisable to set up a large committee consisting of dominion and provincial representatives, and that an office should be built somewhere in the valley where those who have been flooded out and lost their all can go and find out just what will be done for them. The task is a gigantic one, but a great deal can be done to pacify the people there if definite rather than vague statements are made as to what will be done. I appeal to the Minister of Public Works or some other minister to tell the house and the country what steps have already been taken. We know that one or two officials are in charge, but we are in the dark as to what plan has been formulated, not for the construction of dikes for that will come later, but as to the setting up of a strong committee and the announcement of a plan as to what those who have lost their all may expect in the way of rehabilitation.

May I indicate to the house what may happen and has happened without proper direction. In one part of the valley where the water started to recede one farmer said, "I want seed. I have no money and I have nothing in the bank." He was told, "We have no money for seed but we have for feed." And they haggled for several days over whether he should have feed or seed. Things like that cause a great deal of unrest and discontent, when we have hundreds of people who have lost everything they have. We should stop haggling with a man as to whether he should have feed or seed. The thing to do is to rehabilitate him in the best manner possible.

I trust that the government, if not tonight, will make an announcement shortly, so that many hundreds who have lost their all will have new courage given to them, knowing they are to be helped to re-establish themselves on their property and in the homes in which they have lived for many long years.

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CCF

James Herbert Matthews

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

Mr. J. H. MATTHEWS (Kootenay East):

Mr. Speaker, I have no thought of prolonging this debate, but, as a member from British Columbia and speaking on behalf of the C.C.F. group with which I am associated, I wish to say I concur in everything that has been said by hon. members from British Columbia with regard to the flood conditions in that province. When this matter was first brought before the house by the hon. member for Fraser Valley (Mr. Cruickshank), the

country generally had no conception of the magnitude to which this disaster would grow. It was bad enough at the very beginning, but, as the days have followed one after the other, the disaster has assumed staggering proportions.

I for one feel that the debate which has gone on in the house during this session in regard to flood conditions in British Columbia has had a tremendously good effect upon the country. It has brought us a sense of national unity, indicating that we are not just a few provinces set apart from each other, but are closely united. Our interests are common interests. Secondly, the people of the east, are, I know, sympathetic in their hearts. They are just as anxious that the government shall do something for the flood victims of British Columbia as we from the west are ourselves.

I want to concur in what was said by the hon. member for Kamloops (Mr. Fulton), that we who represent interior constituencies are deeply concerned at the differentiation which has been made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King). The commission which has been set up has been named the Fraser river rehabilitation commission. In response to a specific question, the Prime Minister gave a specific answer that the measures and the agreement entered into so far with the province referred to that particular area only.

Since I spoke last in the house on this question, another large area of my constituency has been heavily inundated. I refer to what is known as the Creston flats. Where the Kootenay river flows into and forms the Kootenay lakes, many thousands of acres have been inundated and are still inundated tonight owing to the collapse of the dikes in that area. While I agree in the main with what was said by the hon. member for Kootenay West (Mr. Herridge), that the line will have to be drawn somewhere-certainly we do not think that when any farmer's backyard happens to be flooded he should fly to the federal government and seek aid-in areas such as this where dikes have gone, where people have lost homes and crops, where they have lost their living, even when the waters have receded many of them will be too poor to go back. They have nothing to which they can go back. Therefore I for one concur in the remarks which have been made that the time is now ripe for the government to make some statement which will bring relief and some peace to the anxious minds of the people who are homeless and who have lost their all.

Seamen's Strike

It is true that the Fraser valley area is of tremendous importance to the economy of British Columbia. When one visits the great city of Vancouver and realizes how it relies for its food, for its milk, for its butter, for its eggs, and for its poultry upon that great area of the Fraser valley, he knows that these people have received a tremendous blow from which it will take them a long time to recover. What we are chiefly concerned about is not so much what has happened but what will be done in the future to prevent at any time a repetition of this disaster, because one never knows what nature will do in the mountainous areas of British Columbia. And given conditions such as we have had this spring, unless adequate steps are taken to prevent it, we can have just such a disaster again in the course of a very few years. That is the one thing we are anxious to avoid.

If a national survey had been taken in previous years, and a policy of flood control had been put into operation, it would not have cost anything near the same amount of money that this will cost the Dominion of Canada, whether provincially or federally. Therefore we are most anxious to see, not only that the damage shall be repaired just as soon as possible and the people rehabilitated, but that the government shall take a long-range view of the needs of that whole area in British Columbia to ensure that the best engineering minds are brought into the question and that adequate steps are taken to prevent a repetition of these events.

There are several other members from British Columbia whose constituencies have suffered considerably from flood damage. They may not all feel like speaking tonight and participating in this debate, but they, too, are wondering what will happen to their people.

I want to commend once again, as I have already done in the house, the action of the government and especially the Department of National Defence in the splendid efforts that have been put forth by all branches of the service. We also appreciate to the full what the civilian population has done. They have not just sat idly by and expected someone else to do the job for them. Many of them have toiled unceasingly to save not only their own homes but the homes of others. Mention has been made in the house tonight in appreciative terms of what the civilian population has done; but we do hope that in the very near future the Prime Minister will make a statement that will bring relief to the minds of those who are so bitterly distressed while we are gathered here discussing this matter, a statement of what the government is prepared to do by way of immediate rehabilitation.

seamen's STRIKE ON INLAND WATERS-REQUEST FOR ABOLITION OF TOLLS ON VICTORLA AND JACQUES CARTIER BRIDGES

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. ANGUS MacINNIS (Vancouver East) :

I am not going to try to add to the excellent statements which have been made by hon. members of all parties in regard to the disaster that has befallen British Columbia. There is complete unanimity among the members as to the extent of the damage and what should be done both in the short-term and long-term program. I did not rise until now, because I want to speak on another subject. I have made sure that no other member from British Columbia is anxious to speak on the flood situation.

This morning on the orders of the day I asked a question of the Minister of Labour (Mr. Mitchell) in regard to a serious labour dispute which exists close to this city, and which has been going on for some considerable time. I refer to the seamen's strike in which the Minister of Labour and his department have done some very active work. He brushed my question aside in a most frivolous manner. I gather from what the Minister of Labour said this morning that if certain employers and the Minister of Labour do not like the political affiliations of members of a trade union they are not going to receive the advantages which they should receive and which are available, by the law of the land, to all other organized workers when engaged in labour disputes. Certain employers' organizations can ignore and1 defy these laws if they do it on the basis of the political affiliations of the labour organizations they are dealing with. If they do it on that basis, then it is all right as far as the Minister of Labour is concerned. I think that is a dangerous position to take. What is required in the seamen's strike is that publicity be given to the facts. Let the people know exactly what is the cause of the strike, and that is what I am going to do tonight. In doing so, I shall use government documents to show what the situation really is.

Speaking during the Ontario election campaign in the constituency of Welland, the Minister of Labour said, as reported in the Toronto Daily Star:

I am a great believer in conciliation and I don't believe you can settle labour disputes by putting people in jail.

But that is exactly the way in which this particular labour dispute is being settled.

In the matter of the dispute between the seamen's union and Colonial Steamships Limited and Sarnia Steamships Limited, the Minister of Labour appointed a conciliator. The conciliator was not able to do anything,

Seamen's Strike

because the company completely ignored him. Then a commission was appointed, consisting of J. D. McNish and Leonard W. Brockington. Mr. Brockington is a particularly outstanding conciliator who has been used by the Department of Labour on various occasions. Indeed, when the standing parliamentary committee on industrial relations wanted someone to conciliate the steel strike in 1946, Mr. Brockington was asked to do it. I have the report submitted by the commissioners to the Minister of Labour and dated April 15, 1948. I shall read from it as briefly as I can. I quote:

The conciliation board has sent a number of notices advising the parties of meetings in Toronto on the 22nd of March and on the 30th of March.

Therefore you see, Mr. Speaker, this is a long-standing dispute. I continue:

Although representatives of the employees attended the meetings so arranged, the board's invitation to the employers received neither the courtesy of an acknowledment nor the co-operation of an attendance.

In order to try to get over the objection of the owners to the officials of the union because of their alleged communist affiliation, the commissioners urged the officers of the union to allow other parties to negotiate the agreement and become responsible for the signing and the carrying out of the agreement. The union officials agreed, but, as can well be understood, with misgivings, because they wanted an agreement.

The following special negotiating committee was appointed: Percy R. Bengough, president of the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada; William Jenovese, vice-president of the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada, and president of the Toronto district trades and labour council; John W. Buckley, secretary of the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada.

The companies were then advised that these well known labour leaders were willing to negotiate any agreement on behalf of the seamen's union. Mr. Bengough, it was found later on, could not attend, and Mr. Russell Harvey, who, I believe, is a member of the typographical union, or some union associated with the typographical union in Toronto, took his place. The commissioners say:

Your commissioners called a meeting of the interested parties in Toronto on Monday, April 12. It was attended by representatives of the seamen's union and by Mr. Frank Wilkinson, K.C., and one of his legal associates on behalf of the companies. The companies' representatives were without instructions. At the request of the board they communicated with their clients. The chairman of the board was advised by Mr. Wilkinson that the attitude of the companies towards your commissioners was the same as their attitude towards the conciliation board.

That is, they ignored the commissioners in the same way as they ignored the conciliation board. The report then goes on:

In the year 1947 a number of disputes arose between these companies and the union.

That is, between the shipping companies.

A board of arbitration was set up in accordance with the provisions of the agreement of 1946. The award of the board was not accepted by the companies after the companies had failed to appoint an arbitrator in accordance with their agreement.

Then further on:

After the government's intervention, and as a part of the settlement publicly announced, the companies made a promise that if a vote were taken amongst their employees and found to be favourable to the Canadian seamen's union the companies would negotiate an agreement for the year 1948.

Then steps were taken to take a vote, as required by the labour laws of Canada. This is the result of the vote. The ballot read:

Do you desire the Canadian seamen's union to act as your representative for the purpose of negotiating a collective agreement with your employer for the 1948 navigation season?

This is the result of the vote for the employees of the two companies, the Sarnia Steamship company first, and Colonial Steamships second:

Sarnia Colonial

Steam- Steam-

ships ships

Number of eligible voters.. 176 178Number of votes east 159 169Number of voting "yes" .... 143 154Number of voting "no" .... 9 13Number of spoiled ballots .. 7 2

It will appear from this that the Canadian seamen's union was accepted by the employees on a government-supervised vote, on the part of the Sarnia Steamship company, of 143 for and 9 against, and on the part of the Colonial Steamship company, of 154 for and 13 against.

Surely a vote of that kind is sufficient indication of what the employees wanted. After that, the companies, which had promised that if the vote were taken and if it favoured the seamen's union they would accept it, as soon as the vote was taken refused to accept it. This is what the commissioners have to say in that regard:

It is apparent that the companies have ignored the meetings of the conciliation board appointed this year and have declined either to meet their men or to attempt conciliation and negotiate by using the services of the former board or of the present commissioners. Such conduct is an open breach of their agreement with the union dated September, 1946,-

Note this:

-of the provisions of P.C. 1003, and of their undertaking made with the government of Sep-

Seamen's Strike

tember, 1947. By their action and inaction the companies have also broken the admirable, long established, and beneficial practice by which Canadian employees and employers sit down together around a table in an attempt to settle their difficulties.

Surely there never was a greater condemnation of a company than you have here by two responsible commissioners [DOT]appointed by the government. Yet the Minister of Labour, when the unco-operative attitude of the employers is drawn to his attention, brushes it aside, because he happened to be heckled at a meeting, and will not have anything to do with it.

If there is anything more disgraceful than the action of the companies it is the action of the Minister of Labour. I am not quite through with what this report has to say. I quote:

Your commissioners also have reason to believe that the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada would be willing to adopt the somewhat unusual procedure of entering into an agreement with 'the companies on behalf of this union, which is chartered to the trades and labour congress, it being understood of course, that if the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada did so sign an agreement on their behalf the union's bargaining rights would be specifically preserved.

While the companies admit that they have signed an agreement with a rival union-

This is the rival union, a union that has no standing whatsoever according to the labour legislation of Canada.

-no copy of such an agreement has been filed with the department, and no bargaining rights have been granted by the national labour relations board to any organization other than the Canadian seamen's union.

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LIB

William Ross Macdonald (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

Order. I

notice that the Minister of Labour (Mr. Mitchell) is not in the house. The hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Maclnnis) a minute ago used the word "disgraceful." I would refer him to Beauchesne, second edition-

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

Mr. Speaker, might I intervene? If you object, I withdraw the word.

Topic:   FRASER RIVER, B.C. FLOODS-HOUSING ACCOMMODATION FOR MEMBERS DURING SESSION
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LIB

William Ross Macdonald (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

I felt that I should intervene because the minister is not here.

Topic:   FRASER RIVER, B.C. FLOODS-HOUSING ACCOMMODATION FOR MEMBERS DURING SESSION
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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

I agree, Mr. Speaker. I was pointing out that the Canadian seamen's union is the bargaining agency according to the laws of the Dominion of Canada as administered by the Department of Labour.

The report goes on:

In view of the intransigeant attitude of the companies, your commissioners have not considered that any further legal procedure on their

part would serve any useful purpose. We are unanimous in stating our belief that the defiance of the existing law, the breach of the existing agreement, and the failure to fulfil the promise made by these companies to the government are a serious threat to the recognized practice of labour conciliation, and are moreover, the worst possible weapons any employer could use in a dispute with the legally constituted bargaining representatives of his employees.

We in this country are opposed to communism. I cannot conceive of anything that is more likely to breed communists than the attitude of these employers. I will finish this report with one other paragraph:

We have reason to believe also that this conduct which goes to the root of labour relations in this country, raises far wider issues than the isolated dispute with the Canadian seamen's union and that there is grave danger that the discord will not be restricted merely to relations between this union and these companies.

That is the seriousness of this situation. If hon. members would take the trouble to read the report made by the national war labour board in 1943 they would find there the opinion of Hon. C. P. McTague, chairman of the board, and Leon Lalande who signed the majority report. I should like to read just one paragraph from the finding of that labour inquiry:

The most serious question involved at the present time is that of the right of collective bargaining. It must be kept in mind that this is a right which in a practical way has been recognized in Canada for a period of half a century. By far the majority of employers have resisted it over the period.

That is, over the fifty years. To continue:

Generally speaking, the great mass of employers, until comparatively recent years have employed all weapons in their power to resist and discourage the trade union movement. There have been exceptions, of course.

When it is remembered, however, that the international trade unions represent but approximately 20 per cent of Canadian labour generally it is apparent on a comparison with other countries such as England, Sweden and Australia that Canada's trade union movement has been very, very slow indeed. Until comparatively recent years we have been in the main an agricultural country. That factor, together with resistance to the movement by reactionary industrial employers, induced by the fear motive or other even more selfish motives, has served to hold in check any widespread advance in the movement of trade unionism for quite a period of years.

That constitutes the findings of two capable men after an exhaustive inquiry. I do not intend to take the time to read it all. Hon. members who want to read it will see what those men found that certain employer attitude develops a certain kind of labour leader. The war being over, we are now getting back

Tolls on Quebec Bridges

to the same state of affairs that Mr. McTague and Mr. Lalande found in their investigations in 1943.

I will conclude by pointing out now that this is not an unimportant matter that I am raising. I know that fault will be found with me. I know that maybe this is not a particularly popular issue. But anyone who thinks he will scare me off by raising that sort of issue is wasting his time. I have taken up unpopular issues before now. If those who do not agree with me would read an editorial on this subject which appeared in the Globe and Mail of Friday, June 11, they would find that the editors agree largely with what I have pointed out in this house tonight. As a matter of fact, I am basing my case wholly on the report made by the commissioners to the Minister of Labour. The first paragraph in the Globe and Mail editorial reads as follows:

Canada is again in the throes of a lake seamen's strike. The issues are not the customary disputes over hours, wages and working conditions, but over the fact that five shipping companies have illegally refused to bargain with the accredited representatives of the Canadian seamen's union.

I can almost hear the statements that would be made in this house if-as I have heard them so many times before-if the trade unions had taken illegal action at this time. So let us now tell the people of Canada who are preventing a peaceful settlement of this dispute and who are the real culprits in the trouble and the rioting that have developed in this situation.

Topic:   FRASER RIVER, B.C. FLOODS-HOUSING ACCOMMODATION FOR MEMBERS DURING SESSION
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June 14, 1948