February 19, 1935 (17th Parliament, 6th Session)


Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

My hon. friends laugh rather hollowly when I say that. I wonder why they laugh when they must realize that it has taken the working class generations to build up an understanding in the minds of employers possibly like themselves, that they are entitled to some opportunities to work for better conditions in their industries for themselves as well as for those who are their fellow workers. The first part of the clause reads:
An insured contributor shall be disqualified for receiving unemployment benefit-
(a) if he has lost his employment by reason of a stoppage of work, which was due to a trade dispute at the factory, workshop or other premises at which he was employed.
Supposing, as very often has happened, the employer himself has 'been guilty of a breach of agreement as between himself and his employees under a trade union agreement; does this mean that that class of people who strike against a breach of agreement on the part of an employer are at once to be disqualified from participation in the benefits under the bill? If so, the bill is a deliberate attempt to destroy the effectiveness of labour organizations in this country. Further, if he participates in, finances or is directly interested in a trade dispute which has caused a stoppage of work, he is to be outlawed. It will be noted that under the subclause of this clause he does not have to be actually in the ranks of the strikers. As the hon. member for Vancouver South suggests, he may belong to another organization altogether, but he may be sympathizing with and assisting those people. I have known for example groups of workers in one union in this country assist another group in another union when they were out on strike. I have in mind some of the strikes in the maritime provinces in connection with the coal industry. There will be more strikes in that industry because conditions in it, both east and west, are positively appalling. Until people go and see the hovels in which these coal miners live, the unsanitary conditions under which they exist and the miserable pittance upon which they live, they will never understand the reasons for what I am now telling the committee. A clause like this disallows not only those men but any others who are endeavouring to do what Britons will always desire to do, that is fight for decent conditions and justice. I think the clause is an appalling one, especially if it is ruthlessly enforced.

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