October 18, 1976

PC

John Angus MacLean

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacLean:

I think it is false for us to assume that all the values of life can be measured in dollars and cents, or in economists' graphs. There are other things in life that are more important, that are equally important. The material side of life is only a prerequisite to enjoying life. 1 will quote again from page 70 of Mr. Schumacher's book as follows:

The conventional wisdom of what is now taught as economics by-passes the poor, the very people for whom development is really needed. The economics of giantism and automation is a left-over of nineteenth century conditions and nineteenth century thinking and it is totally incapable of solving any of the real problems of today. An entirely new system of thought is needed, a system based on attention to people, not primarily attention to goods-the goods will look after themselves! It could be summed up in the phrase, "production by the

[Mr. MacLean.)

masses, rather than mass production". What was impossible, however, in the nineteenth century, is possible now. And what was in fact-if not necessarily at least understandably-neglected in the nineteenth century in unbelievably urgent now. That is, the conscious utilization of our enormous technological and scentific potential for the fight against misery and human degradation-a fight in intimate contact with actual people, with individuals, families, small groups, rather than states and other anonymous abstractions. And this presupposes a political and organizational structure that can provide this intimacy.

I feel, Mr. Speaker, that one of the greatest mistakes economists ever made is that they treated agriculture and our soil as just another economic value. It is more than that. Agriculture is more than an industry. Any nation that over urbanizes and neglects its soil, and has a large percentage of its people unconscious of the fact that they are part of the web of life, is in for trouble.

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Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

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PC

John Angus MacLean

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacLean:

It may be a coincidence but the facts of history show that when civilizations became highly urbanized they collapsed. That may be coincidental but it is a provable fact that when civilizations neglected their soil and forgot they were part of the web of life, that humanity itself is part of the biosphere of this little planet, collapse was certain.

I should like to say it is a historic fact that when civilizations neglected their soil and treated it as if agriculture were merely an industry, without exception they collapsed and disappeared. Again quoting from Schumacher at page 95:

Man, whether civilized or savage, is a child of nature-he is not the master of nature. He must conform his actions to certain natural laws if he is to maintain his dominance over his environment. When he tries to circumvent the laws of nature, he usually destroys the natural environment that sustains him. And when his environment deteriorates rapidly, his civilization declines.

The soil is a producer, directly or indirectly, of virtually all our renewable resources. Humanity depends upon that fact because we are part of the web of life. We should take a wider view of agriculture and not treat it as just another industry.

At page 105 of his book Mr. Schumacher writes:

On a wider wiew, however, the land is seen as a priceless asset which it is man's task and happiness "to dress and to keep". We can say that man's management of the land must be primarily orientated toward three goals- health, beauty and permanence. The fourth goal-the only one accepted by the experts-productivity, will then be attained almost as a by-product. The crude materialist view sees agriculture as essentially directed toward food-production'.

A wider view sees agriculture as having to fulfil at least three tasks:

-to keep man in touch with living nature, of which he is and remains a highly

vulnerable part;

-to humanize and ennoble man's wider habitat; and

-to bring forth the foodstuffs and other materials which are needed for a

becoming life.

I am almost finished, Mr. Speaker. I cannot close without referring to my home province, Prince Edward Island. It was proud to be called a million acre farm. However, in the last few decades it has suffered as much as, if not more than, any other province from government policies which favoured giantism, industrialization, and the exploitation of non-renewable resources. Such policies were "in". Saskatchewan probably suffered as much as Prince Edward Island from such policies,

October 18, 1976

until non-renewable resources like potash and oil were exploited in the province. Speaking as a Prince Edward Islander, 1 make no apology for the difficult times we have gone through as a province. I only regret that the resources supplied to my province by well meaning but ineffectual organizations such as DREE weve not administered in a way which will leave lasting benefits.

In Prince Edward Island our main resource is the soil; our second resource is the sea. We are in a highly favoured position since, in the long run, our resources are renewable. If we husband our resources wisely, if we are prepared to take the long view instead of acting according to expediency, we in Prince Edward Island will prosper as a living civilization, and areas which depend on non-renewable resources will look to us for help, rather than the other way around.

In closing may I say that, for me, the past 25 years are an experience I would not have missed for anything. On the other hand it is apparent that the sacrifice the member of parliament makes is not appreciated by the public at large. I do not know the reason for this. Perhaps it is the distorted image of this institution held up to the public of Canada by the media. Whatever the reason, the public ought to know that, generally speaking, members of any party make a great sacrifice when they agree to serve in this House. Usually they sacrifice the most productive periods of their lives in order to serve the best interests of Canadians, as they see them. But the public does not, generally, appreciate this.

I want to see the day when the public recognizes the sacrifice of those who stand for parliament. In every constituency several candidates present themselves for election to parliament. They are selected by our parties on the basis of character and standing. Our parties try to bring the best people forward. Out of three or four candidates only one is elected. If one were to be cynical, one could say that the elected one is the unlucky one. Usually he is in the most productive period of his life, which means he, or she, may sacrifice, for the sake of serving a few years, the opportunity for security. I include the families of members in my remarks, and I want to pay special tribute to the wives and families of members of parliament who accept, without reservation, the necessary sacrifices.

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Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

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PC

John Angus MacLean

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacLean:

Such families become, in effect, one-parent families, because the father must serve in this Chamber perhaps ten months of the year.

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An hon. Member:

Or the mother.

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PC

John Angus MacLean

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacLean:

Or the mother, as the case may be.

Having said that, I plan to leave this place tomorrow, of course with many regrets. I remember the friendships I have made here over the years. I hope I shall have the opportunity to come back to visit my friends on the Hill.

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Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

The Address-Hon. J. C. Munro

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LIB

John Carr Munro (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Hon. John C. Munro (Minister of Labour):

Mr. Speaker, I listened attentively to the hon. member for Malpeque (Mr. MacLean) and join with all members of the House in congratulating him on a graceful, thoughtful speech which exemplifies the man himself to all his friends and admirers in this Chamber and country.

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Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

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LIB

John Carr Munro (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Munro (Hamilton East):

I have been a member of this House since 1962. During these past years I always found the hon. member kind and thoughtful, and most helpful to all members when they first present themselves in this House. Never can I recall his doing anything shabby, mean, or disappointing, so I join my colleagues in wishing him the best in every endeavour he may pursue-

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Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

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LIB

John Carr Munro (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Munro (Hamilton East):

-except one.

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Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh!

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LIB

John Carr Munro (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Munro (Hamilton East):

In the remaining moments I wish to outline what the government has in mind with respect to one of its major priorities as outlined in the Speech from the Throne. That is the very important area in our industrial relations system and how we hope to improve it.

I might indicate that what we have here is a 16 point program to improve our industrial relations system. Much of it is predicated on one underlying precondition, that is, that it involves discussion and co-operation between the government, labour and the business community. It involves implicitly the necessity for the acceptance of the labour movement as a legitimate body in this country for the purpose of consulting and for involvement in decision making in the country. It means not only should labour be accepted on an equal footing with the business community in Canada, but it is an absolute essential if we are to arrive at meaningful accommodations in terms of the realization of many of the points I am going to discuss.

As I indicated, all the proposals require the co-operation of labour and management. We intend to consult with labour and management and, in some cases, the provinces, in order to develop the necessary consensus which we will need. When these proposals are translated into legislation and programs, I hope with the full support and co-operation of labour and management, we will have gone a long way toward improving the climate and the performance of labour-management relations in Canada.

The government's proposals attack the problems on three fronts. First, we want to amend and improve the structure and process of labour-management relations. Second, we want to deal with substantive issues to improve the work environment. And third, we want to remove the contentious issues, to the greatest extent possible, from the bargaining table. I would like to deal with each of these areas in some detail.

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October 18, 1976

The Address-Hon. J. C. Munro

Dealing with the structure and the process of labour-management relations, the first point of the 16 point program would be the constitution of a multipartite forum for consultation.

An essential step toward a more responsive and responsible industrial relations system is the development of a multi-partite forum for consultation and the exchange of information on the broad issues of social and economic concern. Such a forum would bring together representatives of government, labour, business, the farm community, consumers, possibly others. We do not favour a body with the wide-sweeping powers which has been advocated tentatively by the Canadian Labour Congress. The body proposed by the Congress would purport to manage all or major parts of the economy and would require a significant delegation of power by parliament, and this we are not prepared to do.

The multi-partite body we are proposing would provide decision-makers in the industrial relations field with the background information they need for making decisions that are in their own interest and in the public interest. Under the umbrella of such a national body we propose there would be a tripartite consultative body to deal specifically with labour-management relations.

It should be quite obvious, Mr. Speaker, that in pursuing the course the government is recommending to parliament we want the involvement and whole-hearted support of labour and management.

Second, we are proposing the establishment of a collective bargaining information centre. The need for such a centre was recognized by labour and by management at the first meeting of the Canada Labour Relations Council in July, 1975. Both parties recognized the need for a centre where they could turn for information on the economy and the various bargaining issues which was acceptable to both parties. Members on all sides of the House will agree, I am sure, that a collective bargaining data centre of this kind would go a long way toward removing some of the worst adversarial aspects of the collective bargaining system.

Considerable quantities of economic data are now available from various government and private sources. This is not the problem. The problem is that much of this information is unsuitable for collective bargaining. In our discussions at the Canada Labour Relations Council it was agreed there should be a single agency which would pull together these data and make them relevant and available to both parties. The government believes that the availability of such information, comprehensive and up-to-date, would improve the attitudes of the parties and would make them aware of what the economy can bear.

The kind of centre we have in mind would not duplicate existing data collection functions. It would act as a clearing house. It would encourage existing agencies to make their output more relevant and useful to the collective bargaining process. It would include information on rates of pay, employee earnings, conditions of employment, and fringe benefits. It would provide information on the state of the economy

and the state of individual industries, including comparisons with other countries, particularly Canada's major partners. It would operate under the direction of a tripartite advisory board consisting of representatives of labour, management, and government. Its data would be available to the public.

Third, another change the government would like to encourage is to provide for greater worker participation at the plant level. To be quite frank about it, the umbrella organization, the national consultative council we are proposing, might not be seen as having much relevance to the worker on the shop floor. The consultative bodies would be more relevant to the senior labour leadership and to management. But there are important structural changes which could have immediate import for men and women workers at the production level.

We will work closely with Crown corporations to promote the introduction of worker participation at various levels of the enterprise. There are three such areas the government wants to pursue. One is an institute for occupational health and safety. The second is measures to improve opportunities for labour education. The third is worker education.

The fourth element is the constitution of an occupational health and safety institute. There can be no significant and lasting improvement in industrial relations as long as workers, in any place and in any industry, feel there is insufficient concern for their health and safety, or as long as health and safety hazards which can be identified are allowed to continue. The labour movement is concerned about this issue. Several of the provinces have introduced legislation and committed themselves to programs. We must move forward in co-operation with the provinces.

There is a demonstrated need for a national code; there is a need for the testing of potentially dangerous substances and conditions and industrial processes; and there is a need for a technical advisory service to workers, trade unions, employers, government and agencies, and the public. I anticipate full multipartite and provincial involvement in the development and operation of an occupational health and safety institute.

The fifth point deals with paid educational leave. In the field of education the government wants to explore the opportunities for individual workers and the opportunities for trade unions.

The opportunities for paid educational leave relate to the desire of workers to improve themselves in their jobs, or to develop their skills, or to prepare themselves for new careers. The concept is related to the need for worker sabbaticals so that they can regenerate themselves and prepare themselves for new opportunities in a flexible working life. Paid leave is now more or less a luxury which is afforded to some professional workers, notably teachers and doctors. The government believes that Canadian workers in all categories want to discover new career choices, and that Canada would be better off is we were to help make it possible. Therefore the government plans to undertake a fact-finding exercise which would discover present practice in Canada and other countries and attempt to assess the possible impact of educational leave on unemployment strategies and the relationship of educational leave to a flexible working life.

The sixth point deals with labour education. In the other area, labour education, the government recognizes the need for programs which would assist labour leaders and potential labour leaders to acquire a more comprehensive knowledge of the structure, goals, policies and responsibilities of the labour movement in the social and economic context of Canada. Canada is well-equipped with, and well-served by, university and private institutions for the development of managers and management skills. But we have paid only minor attention to the development of trade union leadership. There is a whole new generation of workers who have no knowledge of the contributions which have been made by the labour movement to the development of Canadian democracy, and who have no access to institutions which could help them develop collective bargaining skills. The government will be seeking the approval of the House for programs which will provide support to individual workers and to labour and educational organizations.

I would now like to deal with the second element of the government's proposals-improving the work environment. We are proposing many innovations in this area. I do not anticipate that I will have sufficient time today to give all the detail that hon. members will want, but there will be other opportunities during the debate and following.

I have already spoken of the need for a national code for occupational health and safety. The government is proposing a program to increase worker participation in determining the working conditions that affect the work environment. We propose that this could be achieved, in part, through the establishment and promotion of joint safety and health committees in the shop, under federal jurisdiction. The establishment of committees on a plant-by-plant basis would provide a means for sharing the responsibility for health and safety between labour and management. They would provide a recognized role for employees in the decision-making related to safety and health matters.

I think that hon. members will appreciate the potential for such committees. Besides their concern for health and safety, they would improve communications in the workplace, and given the co-operation and good will which I anticipate will be developed, they could be extended to other work processes and conditions.

Another area for improving the working environment is the area of basic minimum standards. A major irritant to good labour relations in any workplace is unjust dismissal. Organized labour has developed a code of practice in collective bargaining which provides for the protection of worker rights through a grievance procedure. The government proposes to extend to all employees in the federal jurisdiction the right of grievance against alleged unjust dismissal. This would not infringe on the right of dismissal for misconduct, incompetency or incapacity, and it would not impede lay-offs on a non-discriminatory basis when work is not available. The proposed procedure would include filing of a complaint and

The Address-Hon. J. C. Munro conciliation of the complaint by an officer of the Department of Labour or by arbitration where the departmental officer was unable to reach a satisfactory conclusion.

In addition to cases of dismissal without just cause, we would like to protect unorganized workers in other areas, including standards on hours of work, paid annual leave and wage protection. We are prepared to give consideration to proposals on flexible hours of work and we would like to move ahead with new proposals for wage protection, sick leave, bereavement leave, reporting pay and layoff and recall procedures. In order to update standards according to current needs and conditions, we will be asking the House to permit the improvement of standards through regulation, rather than submitting each proposal for amendment to the legislative process.

Closely related to the government's intention to improve the working environment through the upgrading of minimum standards is our proposal for developing a normative and voluntary code of good industrial relations practices. Such a code would provide employers and employees with a manual of good practices in all personnel-related issues. A move in this direction would help to reduce the divergence of views towards recurring labour-management issues. My department believes that the adoption of such a code in the United Kingdom was an important element in the acceptance of the social contract between government, labour and management in that country. Such a code could emerge out of the tripartite consultations which we want to resume in the very near future.

I have referred to paid education leave and support for labour education as initiatives for restructuring labour-management relations in this country. Paid education leave could also make a significant contribution to improving the working environment. This proposal originated in a convention of the International Labour Organization and it has the full backing of the Canadian Labour Congress.

The government has proposed the establishment of a national institution to improve the quality of life in the workplace. I will be perfectly candid and say that the concept of "quality of working life" is neither clear nor easily defined. But we do know that European experiments in industrial democracy and North American experiments in the humanization of work tend to show there is one factor which is common to all successful attempts to improve working conditions while maintaining and improving productivity. That common element is worker participation. What we are proposing to do is to study the full range of participatory mechanisms and promote their implementation in the private and public sectors, unionized or otherwise, in the federal and provincial jurisdictions.

We recognize some serious problem areas. Trade unions have been hesitant to participate in experiments in the reorganization work, particularly if the experiment poses a threat to collective bargaining. Management has been hesitant about any change that threatens its right to organize and assign work in the enterprise. These sources of disapproval have not been insurmountable elsewhere, and I anticipate a willingness on the part of both labour and management to join in a tripartite

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The Address-Hon. J. C. Munro

study of this whole question. The successful implementation of any proposals in this area will involve the federal and provincial governments, and the provinces will be willing partners. This is to be a national effort.

While I would not want to anticipate the direction which labour, management and the provinces would want to take, I think it is conceivable that we would want to start with the collection and distribution of data on experiments that have been conducted in Canada and elsewhere for the improvement of the quality of working life-we would include the monitoring of experiments in the field, we would include lectures, seminars and workshops on methods and problems, and we would establish technical and consulting services on the whole area of quality of working life. I would anticipate that the program would be administered by the Department of Labour, and the department would seek the advice of a multi partite committee including the provinces in determining priorities and co-ordinating programs.

Another of the substantive issues in the workplace is the pension and retirement issue. This has become a significant source of friction in labour-management relations. An interdepartmental task force is currently studying the relationship of private to public plans and the adequacy of coverage and benefits. The Department of Labour will be assessing the information that will be developed over the next three or four months.

I should like to move on now to the third major element of the proposals which has to do with the improvement of the collective bargaining process. The thirteenth point of the program in this area concerns the initiative toward broader-based bargaining. One of the first changes we wish to make is an improvement in this direction especially in some of the major federal services. I am thinking, by way of example, of the airline industry. A move in the direction of coalition bargaining would help avoid the kind of sequential shutdowns we have experienced in the past in this important public service. The Department of Labour has examined the collective bargaining process in this area and is now ready to initiate discussions with Treasury Board and the Public Service Staff Relations Board. We intend to propose that the parties concerned consider some form of voluntary coalition for bargaining purposes, but should this approach not succeed the government may wish to consider amendments to the legislation.

Many of our proposals are intended to diminish the adversary element in the collective bargaining process, but it is unrealistic to believe that the adversary element will disappear. It is an essential part of bargaining. What we want to continue doing, and do even better than in the past, is to provide for third party assistance in the resolution of labour-management disputes.

In conclusion I might mention our proposal for the improved training of conciliators and mediators. We are putting more resources into this area as a matter of urgency. It is considered also that the training available to conciliators and mediators ought to be improved and plans have been prepared accordingly. This would, of course, involve getting together with the

provinces and making more resources available for the purpose. I might add that amendments to Part V of the Labour Code would provide a much better system for the resolution of many of the factors which cause delays in the processing of grievances. Those are some of the main elements and I would welcome any further discussion or information that my colleagues in the House might desire with regard to this particular program.

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PC

George Harris Hees

Progressive Conservative

Hon. George Hees (Prince Edward-Hastings):

Mr. Speaker, before I speak tonight I think I could render the House a service by bringing hon. members up to date on some very important events which took place today. First of all I will give hon. members the latest results in the Ottawa-Carleton byelection. With 300 of 422 polls heard from, the Conservative candidate has 21,685 votes, the Liberal candidate has 12,003, and the NDP candidate has 8,059 votes.

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Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

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PC

George Harris Hees

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

The communications are not quite so good from Newfoundland but it has come through officially that the Conservative candidate has been declared the winner.

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Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

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PC

George Harris Hees

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

The NDP candidate has come second. I might say that that is the first time that an NDP candidate has made any showing in this area whatsoever. Third candidate by a long way is the Liberal candidate.

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October 18, 1976