November 28, 1957

PC

John Borden Hamilton (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (York West):

Mr. Speaker, on the point of order, I should only like to ask you to refer again to the meaning of the words "direct expenditure", as used by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, in order to determine whether this will not be the direct result if this legislation is passed, that it may mean an increase of federal expenditures. I am not saying that it will, I doubt very much if it will, as far as present rates of pay are concerned. But it might, and I ask you to consider the effect of the words I have mentioned.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   PROVISION OF MINIMUM RATE OF WAGES FOR EMPLOYEES
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LIB

James Allen (Jim) Byrne

Liberal

Mr. J. A. Byrne (Kootenay East):

On this point of order, Mr. Speaker, I would say that the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre has effectively disposed of the matter, but there is one point I wish to make, and that is that I personally do not believe that every time an adjustment is made in wages it becomes a direct charge. On the contrary, a satisfied employee usually performs his work in a more satisfactory way for the industry in which he is engaged-in this case, the civil service-and simply to say that conditions will be improved does not mean, in my opinion, that there will necessarily be an extra charge.

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Subtopic:   PROVISION OF MINIMUM RATE OF WAGES FOR EMPLOYEES
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PC

Arthur Edward Martin Maloney (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Arthur Maloney (Parkdale):

Mr. Speaker, may I speak to the point of order? I hesitate to disagree with observations made to you by a recognized authority on the rules, but the contention of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) is that the proposed legislation does not directly involve the expenditure of money. I would have thought, with respect, that in simple terms the legislation he brings forward in his capacity as a private member would oblige the government of Canada in its capacity as an employer to increase, in certain cases, the moneys it pays out by way of salaries, and that therefore nothing could be more directly an expenditure of public money.

I do not think that the failure of the hon. member for York West to raise a point of order in respect to some piece of legislation at some other session would have any binding effect on Your Honour. All this must, too, be considered in another context, as the hon. member pointed out when he read our platform with such great glee-

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Subtopic:   PROVISION OF MINIMUM RATE OF WAGES FOR EMPLOYEES
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LIB

James Allen (Jim) Byrne

Liberal

Mr. Byrne:

Interesting reading.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   PROVISION OF MINIMUM RATE OF WAGES FOR EMPLOYEES
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PC

Arthur Edward Martin Maloney (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Maloney:

Very interesting reading, and it will be followed by interesting actions.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   PROVISION OF MINIMUM RATE OF WAGES FOR EMPLOYEES
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LIB

James Allen (Jim) Byrne

Liberal

Mr. Byrne:

But fiction.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   PROVISION OF MINIMUM RATE OF WAGES FOR EMPLOYEES
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PC

Arthur Edward Martin Maloney (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Maloney:

The government has it in mind in its comprehensive view of labour and management to introduce its own legislation of this kind. That rather makes the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre a Conservative in a hurry. But the government cannot do everything at once. I think this bill clearly involves the expenditure of money, and I therefore speak in support of the point of order.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   PROVISION OF MINIMUM RATE OF WAGES FOR EMPLOYEES
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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. K. Fraser (Peterborough):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to say a word in support of the point of order. I would judge from the contents of this bill that it would mean the federal government would have to employ extra inspectors to go around to these different business premises employing workers and according to the bill before us they would have to inspect or take extracts from any books or documents, etc. I would judge that this would involve an outlay of moneys on the part of the government.

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Subtopic:   PROVISION OF MINIMUM RATE OF WAGES FOR EMPLOYEES
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?

Mr, Chown:

Mr. Speaker, I thought our discussion of this point of order could be appropriately carried one step further when one looks at clauses 5 and 6 of the bill where the sponsor attempts, in clause 5, to move into existing contracts between employers and employees which in the case of crown corporations would again involve the expenditure of public funds in certain instances, and in clause 6, to make a financial encroachment, by providing that certain minimum amounts should be allowed for meals, namely 40 cents, and again that $50 a month should be allowed for room and board. I note that in clause 8 he provides a saving clause whereby if the contents of existing agreements do not come up to these standards, then the clauses I referred to and other clauses shall prevail.

At the same time, however, I think it is important while we are discussing this point of order that we should point to additional encroachments provided for in clauses 5 and

6. Indeed, one feels in reading the explanatory note of the bill that it is simply a bill to provide for a minimum hourly rate of $1 an hour and no more, and yet in the clauses I referred to, it proceeds to carry the whole matter two steps further and disturb many existing agreements between employers and employees by moving into areas which have probably already been negotiated at some considerable length. It is the point that it does involve the expenditure of public funds which I think should be brought to your attention, that is in clauses 5 and 6 as well as in clause 4.

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Subtopic:   PROVISION OF MINIMUM RATE OF WAGES FOR EMPLOYEES
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PC

Arza Clair Casselman (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Casselman):

I am

sure that hon. gentlemen have had a very interesting discussion on this point and I

think you will also agree with me that it is a highly technical point and one that I with my limited experience in this chair should not undertake to decide. For that reason I would ask that the debate proceed. I will report the matter to the Speaker and when he returns to the chair he will then give his decision.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   PROVISION OF MINIMUM RATE OF WAGES FOR EMPLOYEES
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PC

Robert Simpson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Robert Simpson (Churchill):

Mr. Speaker, as a new member of this house who is availing himself of the first opportunity to rise to speak I would like at this time to extend belated but nonetheless sincere congratulations to both Mr. Speaker and Mr. Deputy Speaker on their appointments to their high offices. In the short space of time which has elapsed since the opening of this house we all have had, I am sure, ample evidence of their capabilities in discharging the responsibilities involved in occupying those high positions.

In speaking to the bill which is presently before the house, which is a bill to provide minimum wages for employees, I wish to state at the outset that I am in wholehearted support of any measures within reason which may tend to better the lot of the wage earner be he a labourer or any other type of employee because like many other hon. members in this house I am one who has been in that particular class all his life.

I have been closely associated with labour for many years and feel that I am well aware of the problems of the employee. I have been a mine employee for the past 22 years and prior to that I worked for a long period of time in various jobs in the city of Winnipeg. If I might be permitted to dispel any doubts as to my personal experience with the problems of labour I would like to cite the following example. I have in my hand an urgent letter which I received from a national publication in this country, Maclean's magazine, which is in the process of preparing an article which I hope will shortly appear in their publication concerning the district and town of Flin Flon. This most recent letter which is one of many I have received from them lately lists a great number of questions which they have submitted for my approval, verification or correction. In bringing up this point I would like to refer to one question they have submitted for my verification or approval. They ask me to confirm that I am now a Conservative member of parliament representing the constituency of Churchill and that in the mid-thirties I earned 56 cents an hour and worked 56 hours a week in a northern Manitoba mine. That, Mr. Speaker, is one of the questions I will have to correct for Macleans Magazine because although I did work 56

Industrial Relations

hours a week my wages were not 56 cents an hour, they were 42 cents an hour at that time.

In case you might think 42 cents an hour is a fantastically low figure I would hasten to explain that one of the main reasons for my going to the northern part of Manitoba to work for that kind of money was due to the fact that it was approximately double the amount I could possibly have earned in the city of Winnipeg in those days.

During my years as a mine employee I have been a union member continuously wherever possible and when possible I acted as a union steward. I hope hon. members will realize from these remarks that I am not only very sympathetic to the problems of employees but I would like to see those problems alleviated to the greatest extent and as quickly as possible.

Many of the provisions of this bill to provide minimum wages for employees are highly commendable and well thought out and some of them would tend to lessen to an appreciable degree some of the burdens presently being shouldered by a great many employees. There are, however, certain aspects of the bill which I think should be given much more consideration.

I hope that I have convinced this house that I know partially from personal experience the problems of the working man and that I am wholeheartedly in sympathy with him. We must, however, be fair, honest and open minded about these considerations; especially so when in many cases under this bill we shall be legislating in regard to public money. In this regard, I might say that be it public or private money with which we are dealing we must have the same consideration at all times.

I am one who will always look on both sides of the fence, and despite the fact that for over 15 years I worked as a labourer or mill operator,-and I believe did a good enough job to earn my money-I still feel that I and many others owe a great deal to the mining industry of Canada. I grant that over the years shareholders and promoters have made millions of dollars, but they also- and I know this very well-provided me with an opportunity to bring up my family in an atmosphere which was the essence of security. I believe and I honestly think that that is one of the things that the working men of Canada want today. People might say, or some might think, that I should be afraid that some of my constituents might feel that I am saying these things merely to get into the good graces of a mining company. Well, the people of the Flin Flon area certainly will not say that because there are

Industrial Relations

too many thousands of them up there who feel just the way I do. We are fortunate in many ways to have experienced fine labour-management relations and these have resulted, I believe, in the building of one of the most happy, hospitable and congenial communities in the Dominion of Canada.

I say these things to try to show the house that I believe there are two sides to the story of many problems and sometimes both of them are very worthy. I have to say these things so that no one will feel that I am favouring one side or the other. For instance, after saying that some of the principles of this legislation to provide minimum wages were well thought out and that some should be given more consideration, I should like to point out-I have been very interested in this, especially if I am not out of order in referring to clauses-that clause 6 reads:

Where board or lodging are supplied by an employer to an employee and are accepted by the employee the value of such board or lodging for the purpose of calculating the minimum wages the employee shall be paid under this act shall not exceed $.40 per meal for board and $.50 per day for lodging and no employer shall deduct from the wages of such employee any sum for board or lodging in excess of the values fixed herein.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   PROVISION OF MINIMUM RATE OF WAGES FOR EMPLOYEES
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LIB

Louis Deniset

Liberal

Mr. Deniset:

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, are we allowed to refer to clauses at this stage on the second reading of a bill?

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   PROVISION OF MINIMUM RATE OF WAGES FOR EMPLOYEES
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PC

Arza Clair Casselman (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Casselman):

No;

I am afraid the hon. gentleman is out of order but I can see the reason why he referred to the clause. During the argument on the point of order it was quite in order then to refer to clauses. I am sure the hon. member will keep himself within the rules.

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Subtopic:   PROVISION OF MINIMUM RATE OF WAGES FOR EMPLOYEES
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PC

Robert Simpson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Simpson:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I apologize for stepping out of bounds and I certainly hope that on Saturday the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will not be charged with that infraction on too many crucial occasions.

In regard to this particular part of the bill, I wonder whether it is the feeling of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre that this is a sufficient amount properly to feed and house an employee, or to what extent does he feel the employer should be willing to subsidize this venture? I am sure that extensive subsidization would be necessary. If it is public money we are dealing with this has to be considered. I can say, for instance, that in my area alone we can find many places where board alone runs from $2.10 to $3.00 per day, and still there have to be subsidies paid by the employer. Incidentally, in many instances these feeding places are running at a loss. We are fortunate, of course, to have some system set up in many of these places where the subsidies are

[Mr. Simpson.}

taken care of by the employer. However, I cannot see, Mr. Speaker, where 40 cents per meal and 50 cents per day for lodging in certain areas of Canada is going to provide adequate money to house and feed those employees. I must say I would be quite happy if we could make desirable living conditions available to those employees at that amount; but from experience in the northern areas, where some of the provisions of this legislation will take effect, I am quite sure that this figure is quite a long piece off what would be required.

I think also the principle of the bill which suggests that the employer should provide articles of clothing, or necessary clothing for the employees, clothing which by regulations they have to wear, is a very good move; but there are aspects to that which, from experience in other places, have caused a great deal of concern. Consideration should be given to just how much of this type of clothing is included. For instance, safety-toe shoes, hard hats, miners' slickers, and things of that nature are provided in some places by the employers, but there is always the question of when new equipment is necessary. Some provision would have to be made with regard to how much of that equipment would have to be provided by the employer. I might say that in some instances a very good plan has been worked out under which the employer pays half of the cost of those articles. Therefore, there is no decision made as to when new equipment has to be purchased because the employee, since he pays half of the cost himself, just about calls the shot as to when new equipment is necessary. These are just two of the points that I feel should be given more consideration in this bill. Generally speaking I am in full support of the bill with some minor changes.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   PROVISION OF MINIMUM RATE OF WAGES FOR EMPLOYEES
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LIB

James Allen (Jim) Byrne

Liberal

Mr. J. A. Byrne (Kootenay East):

Mr. Speaker, with respect to what has been said by the hon. member who has just taken his seat, I want to say that any miner who may have been required to work over the past few years for anything less than $1 probably would not have a stomach large enough to accommodate a meal valued at more than 40 cents. I am sure he is having some difficulty in justifying his position on the bill and for that reason has made some statements which should not be taken too seriously.

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Subtopic:   PROVISION OF MINIMUM RATE OF WAGES FOR EMPLOYEES
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PC

Robert Simpson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Simpson:

I think the hon. member misunderstood me.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   PROVISION OF MINIMUM RATE OF WAGES FOR EMPLOYEES
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LIB

James Allen (Jim) Byrne

Liberal

Mr. Byrne:

Over the past several years when I have been in the house it has been the policy of some members of the Liberal party to take the attitude that questions

of this nature were best left for labour-management negotiations. I, of course, have not shared their opinions on all occasions, but one reason the Liberal party has been so popular throughout the years is that there is such a wide range of views in the party.

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Subtopic:   PROVISION OF MINIMUM RATE OF WAGES FOR EMPLOYEES
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?

An hon. Member:

How popular?

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   PROVISION OF MINIMUM RATE OF WAGES FOR EMPLOYEES
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LIB

James Allen (Jim) Byrne

Liberal

Mr. Byrne:

In the past I have personally supported legislation of this type.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   PROVISION OF MINIMUM RATE OF WAGES FOR EMPLOYEES
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?

An hon. Member:

When?

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
Subtopic:   PROVISION OF MINIMUM RATE OF WAGES FOR EMPLOYEES
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November 28, 1957