August 29, 1950

THE LATE HON. P. F. CASGRAIN

LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

May I at this time have the honour of saying a few words about a former member of this house with whom many of us were personally acquainted. On Saturday last, August 26, there passed away at Montreal a distinguished Canadian who at one time held the position in this house which I now have the honour to hold. I refer to the late Hon. Mr. Justice Casgrain.

Pierre Frangois Casgrain was bom in the city of Montreal in 1886. For many years he was a member of this house, being elected first in the year 1917 for the constituency of Charlevoix-Montmorency, and although the boundaries and the name of the constituency

were changed he was re-elected for the constituency at six subsequent general elections, namely, 1921, 1925, 1926, 1930, 1935 and 1940. In 1936 he was elected Speaker of this house and in 1940 he joined the cabinet of the Right Hon. W. L. Mackenzie King as secretary of state. In December, 1941, he was appointed to the bench of the superior court of Quebec. Those of us who were here when Mr. Casgrain was Speaker recall the fair and impartial manner in which he presided over our deliberations. He held the office of Speaker during a time when Canada was faced with great economic problems, and he carried the duties of the office with dignity and in the best traditions of those who had gone before him.

Mr. Casgrain passed away after a very brief illness. The suddenness of his passing must have -been a very severe shock to his wife and to his loved ones. I am sure that all hon. members join me in extending our very deep sympathy to Mrs. Casgrain and to the members of their family.

Topic:   THE LATE HON. P. F. CASGRAIN
Permalink
LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

I am sure that all the personal friends of the late Judge Casgrain, and there are still a great many of them in this house, will be grateful -to you, Mr. Speaker, for this graceful tribute to his memory and for the expression of sympathy to his widow and his family.

Topic:   THE LATE HON. P. F. CASGRAIN
Permalink

THE MINISTRY

ANNOUNCEMENT OF APPOINTMENTS

LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister):

I realize that what I am about to say has very little of the character of a news scoop, but I believe I should place on the record a statement that the Hon. Milton F. Gregg was appointed Minister of Labour on August 7. The Hon. Hugues Lapointe was appointed Minister of Veterans Affairs on the same day, and on -that day the Minister of Justice and Attorney General assumed the discharge of the responsibilities assigned to the Solicitor General.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

Topic:   THE MINISTRY
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF APPOINTMENTS
Permalink

AFTER RECESS The house resumed at eight o'clock.


MAINTENANCE OF RAILWAY OPERATION ACT

PROVISION FOR RESUMPTION OF RAILWAY OPERATIONS AND SETTLEMENT OF LABOUR DISPUTE

LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister) moved

the second reading of Bill

No. 1, to provide for the resumption of operations of railways and for the settlement of the existing dispute with respect to terms and conditions of employment between railway companies and their employees.

He said: Mr. Speaker, this bill, as the title just read from the table indicates, is to provide for the resumption of operations of railways and for the settlement of the existing dispute with respect to terms and conditions of employment between railway companies and their employees. The purpose of the legislation is to deal with what amounts to a national emergency, and it is not intended to provide in any way for any permanent procedure to handle labour relations between employers and employees. The normal procedure in this country has been built up over a great many years and is based upon the principle of collective bargaining. Over the years there have grown up institutions which have proved their value in the national economy of Canada, and I am sure there is no desire, at this time, on the part of any member of this house to act in any way that would have permanent effects upon the normal procedure for the settlement of those matters on a footing of equality between employers and employees. But at the present time this country is faced with a tie-up of rail transportation which, if continued over any lengthy period of time, we know would bring the economy of this nation to a complete standstill. There is probably no other country in the world whose economy is so dependent upon railway transportation as is Canada. As d matter of fact, we have only to look back over the years that have elapsed since the attempt made by the fathers of confederation to make a nation of the separate colonies of this northern half of the North American continent in order to realize that the provision of transportation was the real motivating power which brought together those separate colonies. A tie-up of rail transportation, even in times of profound international tranquillity, would bring about very serious disturbance in this country and, if it were at all permanent, would require a complete change in the organization of the economic instruments which are so essential to tlie national development. I think it is no boast for us to make at this time to say that we are farther advanced now than the fathers of confederation would have dared to predict; that we are farther advanced, in spite of mistakes which may have been made over the last ten years, than anyone would have dared to predict ten years ago, and even farther advanced in our development and progress at this time than anyone would have dared to predict five years ago. I am not saying that for the purpose of asserting that no mistakes have been made; but in spite of the fact that 69262-2i

Maintenance of Railway Operation Act mistakes may have been made, this country has forged ahead in a manner which testifies eloquently to the resiliency of its people and to the magnitude of its natural resources.

A prolonged tie-up could wreck this country, at least on the course that it has been pursuing' with such outstanding success since confederation, and quite possibly mean serious risk and injury not only to ourselves but to the cause of peace, which depends on effective co-operation from Canada and from all the peace-loving nations.

I am not going to say much about the international situation because I do not think this is the moment in this special session to dwell upon that feature; but, to indicate how serious it is regarded as being by our own people, I think it might be useful to remind: ourselves that it is so serious that the government felt it was justified in inviting the young' people of Canada to enlist in the armed forces-of Canada and to make the decision that they would be prepared to risk their lives for the: implementation of Canada's part in what may* be required to maintain peace in the world.' I think it is a source of genuine satisfaction to Canadians generally that since the Korean incident more than 10,000 young Canadians-have taken their pledge to risk their lives for the implementation of Canada's participation, in the efforts to maintain peace in the world and to resist the establishment of totalitarian regimes over any more of this terrestrial globe than has the misfortune to be subjected ta. them at the present time.

This afternoon hon. members listened to a speech from the throne which I think con-: tained four paragraphs only. One of the para

graphs states that we are to be asked to give, urgent consideration to the measures for-increased national security and international co-operation required by the fighting in Korea,-and the increasingly grave international situation which that struggle reflects. That was: the original reason for summoning us to this: special session of parliament. The speech goes on to indicate that we will be asked to approve additional appropriations for national defence, and the meeting of our obligations under the, United Nations charter and the North Atlantic treaty.

It is not making any forecast that anybody in this house would not be able to make as well as I can to imagine that those appropriations are going to be substantial ones. It is no use making appropriations if there is no means of raising the money whereby the appropriations can be met. And you cannot raise money by any means in an economy which is paralysed by a tie-up of its transportation system. That is not all. It is not just money that is required. It is the training of men and the production of armaments,

Maintenance of Railway Operation Act and that is not something that can be done if our economy is paralysed by a tie-up of our transportation system.

Railways are an essential instrument of defence, of security and of production in our country, and I am sure those who have the responsibilities for the management of the railways, as well as those who have the responsibilities for the decisions of the men who operate the railways realize that.

As a matter of fact I know from actual conversation with their representatives they realize it just as keenly as we do. The men who are not working at the present time assert, as they did assert through their leaders in the statements published in our press, that they are not striking against the government and they are not striking against the public. But the situation is such that a tie-up of transportation inevitably reflects against government-not this government, not a party government, but agaiqst government in Canada, and against the public of Canada. I know that is clearly realized and sincerely deplored by everyone in Canada, including all those in management of railways and all those normally engaged in the operation of railways.

When this strike was announced I realized, as I am sure every hon. member of this house realizes, those who were calling the strike and those who were responding to the call were not breaking any law applicable to their case. They were doing what they thought they were justified in doing for the protection of their interests; but it has been said, and I think it is worth being borne in mind, that the insistence upon what may be normally private rights may at times amount to what becomes public wrongs. And the injury that the insistence on private rights may do to the public weal is sometimes so great that it has to be given serious consideration, because the existence and security of the state is the first and prior consideration for each one of us.

When the strike broke out I made a very short declaration. I tried to make that declaration in as calm and even tones as possible, because I felt then as I feel at this moment that there is no intention to injure the nation and there will be no conduct that will definitely break this nation. This thing will be settled; it must be settled. I would hope that while it is being settled nothing unnecessary will be said or done that will rankle afterwards in the minds or hearts of any good Canadians.

Topic:   MAINTENANCE OF RAILWAY OPERATION ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR RESUMPTION OF RAILWAY OPERATIONS AND SETTLEMENT OF LABOUR DISPUTE
Permalink
PC

Karl Kenneth Homuth

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Homuih:

It should have been settled; it should have been settled.

Topic:   MAINTENANCE OF RAILWAY OPERATION ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR RESUMPTION OF RAILWAY OPERATIONS AND SETTLEMENT OF LABOUR DISPUTE
Permalink
LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

I think the government has shown the utmost respect for the rights of all parties. Every possible avenue of conciliation and mediation was tried before parliament was called upon to intervene. There was established a board of conciliation as provided for by the Industrial Relations and Disputes Investigation Act. When it became apparent that there was actually likely to be a strike I wrote a letter in what I tried to make courteous terms asking if the strike could not be postponed for a period of thirty days, to see if during that time something further might not be accomplished, suggesting that the government would appoint a mediator who would use his best offices to try to have the parties reach, by collective bargaining, a solution that would prevent the tie-up of the transportation system.

I was told by the leaders of the negotiating committee for the men that they could not agree to a postponement, but in the reply they implied that they would welcome the immediate assistance of a mediator. The government then selected a man in whom we had great confidence. When his efforts had not proved sufficient to bring about a settlement, I was appreciative that both parties paid tribute to his ability and his fairness, and to the industry he had employed in trying to bring about such a settlement.

When mediation proved to be insufficient and the strike had started, I invited the representatives of the contending parties to meet the Minister of Labour (Mr. Gregg), the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) [DOT] and myself. They did that last Friday. I first met the representatives of the negotiating committee for the men. Some ten of them were at my office, and we had a very frank discussion of the situation. Later that day I had the same very frank discussion with several representatives of the management of the railways.

I was asked at that time what I was requesting them to do, and I said that they were in the process of collective bargaining, and that my only request to them was to consider the seriousness of the situation in my view as I had portrayed it to them, and then to exercise their best judgment to try to come to a reasonable solution of their difference. I told them I did not want them to do something because I thought it was the right thing to do, but that I considered that they were bargaining collectively, and that I hoped that their judgment on the facts which I had put before them would enable them to bridge the differences between them, and to come to a satisfactory solution.

I pointed out to them-to both sides-that this strike had not been in violation of any law; that it had not been a strike intended to, nor should it be allowed to break the economy of the country, but that it was one move in a process of getting a new arrangement under which the transportation system of this country would function. I told them that the additional agony and misery which would result from a prolongation of the strike would not be helpful toward getting that new arrangement.

I pointed out to them that at the time of the disastrous fire at Rimouski I had gone down there and had seen the bridge over the Rimouski river that had been burned. It was a rather narrow bridge, and there was some [DOT]controversy with respect to the new bridge required to replace it-as to whether it should be the same kind of bridge, or a bridge which would be capable of taking care of the additional traffic which develops on that highway. Hon. members will recall that it is the highway leading into the Gaspe peninsula, a resort to which many tourists go during the tourist season. I said I had been glad to notice that they had not waited until they had determined what kind of new bridge they were going to have at that point, but had provided a temporary crossing over the river-a detour which enabled traffic to proceed, pending the erection of the permanent structure.

I suggested to them that what was urgently required at this time was the establishment of a detour which would enable the economy of Canada to be resumed, while a permanent structure that would make for a lasting system of relations between employers and employees was finally worked out.

I also pointed out that the public interest -which they recognized on both sides-[DOT] required that the resumption of the functioning of our economy be made as speedily as possible, and that the vital interest of this country, the vital interest of Canada, as a participant in the United Nations and as a member of the North Atlantic treaty organization required that that be done with the utmost possible urgency.

I was very much chagrined at what was reported on Sunday; but I will say that I was appreciative of the courtesy of the parties in asking to see the Minister of Labour, the Minister of Transport and me on Sunday to report that they had done what in their opinion was the utmost they could do to bring about a cessation of the strike, and that they had been unable to do so. I appreciated their courtesy and I appreciated the spirit

Maintenance of Railway Operation Act which inspired them to feel that it was proper that they should come and make to us the report they did make.

This made it necessary to try to find some other solution for the thing which has got to be done. The transportation system has got to be resumed. It has got to be done. When it became apparent that the parties themselves could not find nor suggest any way which would bring it about, we had already been considering what action we would recommend to parliament in the event of that happening.

But we must all of us realize that prior to August 22 last everybody was firmly convinced a railway strike was something that could not happen here. But it did happen here.

Topic:   MAINTENANCE OF RAILWAY OPERATION ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR RESUMPTION OF RAILWAY OPERATIONS AND SETTLEMENT OF LABOUR DISPUTE
Permalink
PC

Karl Kenneth Homuth

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Homuih:

Oh no.

Topic:   MAINTENANCE OF RAILWAY OPERATION ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR RESUMPTION OF RAILWAY OPERATIONS AND SETTLEMENT OF LABOUR DISPUTE
Permalink
LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

The hon. member will have his opportunity a little later on. Would he not be kind enough to let me finish this expose which I am trying to make? At twelve o'clock this morning we finished the final draft of this bill, which is before you, sir, and before the hon. members of this house at this moment and with respect to which we have had a lot of gratuitous advice. A lot of that gratuitous advice has been most gratefully received. In framing this bill we have endeavoured to make it the kind of bill that would deal with an emergent situation without becoming a pattern for anything that might have any permanent effect on the labour laws of this country.

It appeared in the negotiations of the parties that certain matters had been recognized as inevitable by both sides. One of them was that there should be at once a date-not being exactly the same in the opinion of each side-that there should be, at least effective on the resumption of work, some increase in the hourly wage rates of the railway employees. The railway companies have made an offer of four cents per hour which would affect , all those whom they considered as workers essential to the operations of the railways. They had intended to exclude from them one group of those who were in the unions that had bound themselves together to promote a common cause.

It was very difficult for us to convince ourselves that, in any measure that was going to be a declaration by parliament that such and such services had to be resumed in the national interest, we should include the operators of the railway hotels. It appeared to us to be very difficult to ask parliament to state that it was of such importance to the national interest of the country to have hotel

Maintenance of Railway Operation Act operations resumed that this step, which I am sure is repugnant to all of us, of saying that so and so should do such and such, should apply to them.

But, on the other hand, it was represented to us that all these unions had banded together for the promotion of a common-cause, and that it would appear to them that any action that was taken which did not apply to all of them and to which any of them submitted would be regarded as a betrayal of some of those who had banded together for the promotion of a common

cause. That was something which it was said would appear to them to be wrong for any parliament to ask them to do. In drawing our legislation we reluctantly came to the conclusion that that was a feeling which probably existed in the breasts of the men themselves and which it would not be politic to attempt to override. Therefore in drawing the legislation we have not attempted to make any distinction between any of the services operated by the railway companies which were being performed by the men who had been in the process of negotiation and were now out on strike.

We therefore drew this bill to require that within forty-eight hours of its commencement every railway company shall resume operation of the railway and subsidiary services the operation of which is suspended by reason of the strike now existing, and every employee who is now on strike shall return to the duties of his employment with the railway company by which he is employed. We also felt that it would be politic, in view of the fact that there was a recognition that there would have to be an increase in the hourly rates effective at least from the time the men went to work, to provide in the request that they go back to work .a provision that they get at least as a minimum what had been recognized by the railways as something that should be paid. We provided in the act that that minimum of four cents per hour would be operative from the time work is resumed.

We stated in the preamble:

And whereas the railway companies and the bargaining agents of the employees appear to have agreed that existing wage rates should be increased, and the forty hour week introduced but appear to have been unable to agree as to the amount and effective date of the wage increase or the date at which the forty hour week would be effective and the terms and conditions upon which it would be introduced.

It is directed by the legislation that the *companies and the employees shall themselves attempt to iron out these difficulties -and to bridge the gap between the demands and the offers. If they are not able to do so

themselves within a period of fifteen days it is provided that they select an arbitrator to do it and that they agree to be bound by the decisions of that arbitrator. If they cannot agree on the arrangements affecting all other matters outstanding between them, if they cannot agree upon someone to be selected to decide between them, the governor in council will appoint an arbitrator and he will, with the greatest possible dispatch, examine, determine and decide these questions, and his decisions will constitute the basis upon which the services will continue for the period for which the decisions are made.

Topic:   MAINTENANCE OF RAILWAY OPERATION ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR RESUMPTION OF RAILWAY OPERATIONS AND SETTLEMENT OF LABOUR DISPUTE
Permalink
PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

That means compulsory arbitration.

Topic:   MAINTENANCE OF RAILWAY OPERATION ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR RESUMPTION OF RAILWAY OPERATIONS AND SETTLEMENT OF LABOUR DISPUTE
Permalink
?

Jean-Paul Stephen St-Laurent

Mr. Si. Laurent:

That does not mean compulsory arbitration in the usual sense. It is not compulsory arbitration to prevent a strike. It is the acceptance and recognition of the fact that there has to be a determination and that determination might not be made by the parties. Public interest requires that it be met in some way and the only other way is by-

Topic:   MAINTENANCE OF RAILWAY OPERATION ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR RESUMPTION OF RAILWAY OPERATIONS AND SETTLEMENT OF LABOUR DISPUTE
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

Compulsion?

Topic:   MAINTENANCE OF RAILWAY OPERATION ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR RESUMPTION OF RAILWAY OPERATIONS AND SETTLEMENT OF LABOUR DISPUTE
Permalink
?

Mr. Si. Laureni@

By compulsion? I do not think it will be compulsion; I think it will be determination.

Topic:   MAINTENANCE OF RAILWAY OPERATION ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR RESUMPTION OF RAILWAY OPERATIONS AND SETTLEMENT OF LABOUR DISPUTE
Permalink
PC

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rowe:

Compulsory, but not necessarily compulsion.

Topic:   MAINTENANCE OF RAILWAY OPERATION ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR RESUMPTION OF RAILWAY OPERATIONS AND SETTLEMENT OF LABOUR DISPUTE
Permalink
?

Mr. Si. Laureni@

If hon. members are opposed to it they will vote against the bill. If they have any other way in which to get the transportation systems in operation they will say so in the debate. If they have no other way and if they are willing to have the transportation systems definitely go out of business they will say so in the debate. If they are, as I am not sure they are-

Topic:   MAINTENANCE OF RAILWAY OPERATION ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR RESUMPTION OF RAILWAY OPERATIONS AND SETTLEMENT OF LABOUR DISPUTE
Permalink

August 29, 1950