Mr. Chairman, I should like to refer briefly to a few of the points discussed by the hon. member for Hamilton West. First of all I would congratulate her upon her speech, and would thank her for the tribute she paid to my predecessor, Hon. Humphrey Mitchell, in which I join heartily. I join with her, too, in saying that many of the things for which he worked hard, and were instituted by him, are now bearing fruit and operating for the benefit of the people of Canada.
The national advisory council on manpower, which I announced in the house in a statement of some length, met in its first meeting shortly after the announcement was made. The object of creating such a body was to have the benefit of direct advice, alongside the indirect advice given in this chamber, from those who work from day to day as leaders in labour organizations, those who employ labour, the women of the country, the veterans and the farmers. The purpose was to give their representatives an opportunity to sit down together from time to time, on call, as may be required, in company with officials of departments such as the Department of Defence Production, the Department of National Defence, my own department and other departments which, while not so keenly interested as the three I have mentioned, still have an interest in the subject of manpower.
I would think particularly of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration.
The advisory council held a meeting and, as an exploratory first meeting, it was successful; certainly those who attended thought it so. Certain subjects were decided upon for
study, and it was arranged that further meetings were to be on call. Following the question the hon. member for Nanaimo asked a few days ago, I learned from Mr. Norman Robertson and Mr. MacNamara that they have sent out notices for a meeting to be held on the 18th and 19th of this month, and longer as may be required.
I can certainly agree with the hon. member in the stress she places on the importance of industrial peace at this time, and the fortunate situation in which Canada has found herself since last September, at any rate, in the way that leaders of labour have been working with management toward industrial peace. So much has this condition obtained that since last September the average number of people on strike in Canada at any given time has been less than 400 workers.
The hon. member said she would not discuss in detail-and indeed she did not-the railway situation which developed last September. However, she did mention the expression "compulsory arbitration", and referred to the fact that that feature of the act which we passed in the short session last fall still remains. If I understood her correctly, that was the meaning of what she said. I believe the real answer is that today that act is as dead as a doornail.