June 24, 1948

LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

Now, just a minute. In all humility, I suppose that during the war I had more power over the lives of men and women in this country than any other man has had in the history of North America. That was made necessary by war conditions. I can remember the objections my hon. friend raised, and quite properly, against directions given in the mining industry, but I always used to say to myself that the do's and don'ts and shalt's and shalt not's which I had to set in motion would not be allowed to impair the basic freedom of the people of Canada. I believe in the right to strike, but you do not allow that right when you say to a fellow: You are directed to such and such a job. That is a police state. When I said at the conclusion of the war that selective service would go down the drain I was convinced, against the opinions of many of my friends and others, that the resiliency of the Canadian people was such that over 1,000,000 men and women could pass out of the armed forces into industry and commerce and agriculture in this nation without the necessity of controls. I disagree with my hon. friend on his approach to this problem.

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CCF
LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I was born in Great Britain, but I do not have to live there. However, I will say this, that when you start pushing people around and keep on doing it for a decade, particularly when those people are in the young and formative stage of life, you are not far from the kind of state that I am sure my hon. friend does not believe in and I do not believe in.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, I asked a couple of questions and I would ask the minister to answer them. I do not understand what he is talking about when he is speaking of a police state.

Supply-Labour

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I have a perfect right to draw my own conclusions. I believe in the right of a man to quit his job if he wants to, and to refuse a job if he wants to.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

If he has a job. What about the 30,000 unemployed in the maritimes?

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

My hon. friend has

asked me a good many questions and I will try to answer them all. At the moment we are providing transportation to jobs for people in Sydney, Halifax, Pictou, New Glasgow and Vancouver, and that movement has never stopped. My hon. friend will remember the situation in Windsor not very long ago. We received representations from the mayor and council of the city and from our own officials, and accordingly we made provision for the movement of men out of that area, but for some reason best known to themselves the men did not want to leave it. I suppose that is quite natural. We have paid transportation for about 2.800 people from the area to which my hon. friend referred.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

I thought that was discontinued last October.

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LIB
CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

It was announced in the house that it was being discontinued.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

There has been some mention of displaced persons. I think it is fair to say of the three newly elected members of the C.C.F. in this house that they are, like myself, to all intents and purposes displaced persons. I gather that from the inflection in their voices.

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CCF
LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

Most of us left the old country to better ourselves in this dominion, and it is only a matter of degree whether you come from the old country or from Latvia or Poland or some other country.

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LIB
LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

Or Ireland, as my good friend suggests. I was much impressed with what my good friend the hon. member for Vancouver East said when speaking of the problems of displaced persons. But what he said did not agree with what was said by the hon. member for Swift Current when he spoke not long ago in this city. I quote from the Ottawa Citizen, which I rarely do:

Mr. Bentley labelled the bringing of D.P.'s to Canada as a kind of fascism. "It was not kindness that prompted the action but an effort to bring in competition for Canadian organized

labour and to bring down wage bills. If carried on long enough it will end up with them all on the soup line."

That was the statement made by the hon. member for Swift Current, as reported in the Ottawa Citizen. I do not think he believes that any more than any other man in this house does. The government and the people of this country were motivated by the highest ideals when they assumed the obligation of taking a certain proportion of these displaced persons in Europe; and to say that they were brought out here to undermine the living standards of our own people is not a statement of fact.

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CCF
LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I was just reading what the hon. member for Swift Current said, as reported in the Citizen. I hope he did not say that.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

That is just a sentence taken out of the context.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

No, it is not. I do not do that sort of thing. I will send the clipping over to my hon. friend. There is an old saying that when you accuse the other fellow you should take a look in the glass at yourself.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

You have not yet answered any of my questions.

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June 24, 1948