May 27, 1935 (17th Parliament, 6th Session)


Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)


Certainly not; there are
practically none, because these shops have been closed for some years. I say these contracts will affect thousands of men who would go to work. That is the argument, that these men and these equipment shops have not had any work at all for four years, perhaps five in most oases. The hon. member also said that I was a friend of public ownership. I have never particularly argued that I am a friend of public ownership. I am a friend of the Canadian National Railways, and as we have public ownership of that railway and of the Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario I am friendly to what we have. But I do not know that I have stated, and I do not think my hon. friend could find my words saying anything about my attitude on the question of public ownership. I am a friend of the Canadian National Railways, and have been endeavouring to show that I am in spite of a good deal of talk to the contrary throughout the country.
My hon. friend also said that I said we had no responsibility in regard to the fair wage clause or wages paid in equipment shops. I made no such statement. My hon. friend is usually fairer than that. In reply to the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Maclnnis) I stated that I would endeavour to see that fair wages were paid in these equipment shops. It is rather a strange thing-I am wondering how much is just complaint and how much is argument-that in all the time that these equipment orders have been discussed in the press I have yet to receive from any employee of equipment shops a statement by letter or by word of mouth that he has not been fairly treated. Until to-night I never heard that there was anything unfair about the treatment of men in any of the equipment shops. As far as fair wages are concerned I repeat that my hon. friend although a labour representative has no greater desire for fair treatment of the working people than I have, or I think most other members of the house. I shall certainly endeavour to see that the men are paid fair wages. I shall look at the figures given by the hon. member for Vancouver South and I shall be glad to receive from him

the name of the shop to which he refers, because I can hardly believe that such wages are paid except possibly to some apprentice or something of the kind. If he will give me the name of the shop I shall gladly draw it to the attention of the railway companies and indicate that the government desires them to see that fair wages are paid for this work.
In regard to permitting government shops to tender on the building of this equipment, by all means that will not be done as far as I am concerned. I do not think it is any part of the business of the Canadian National Railway repair shops-because that is what they are-to tender on such work against any private company; not because one is a private company and the other a government company, but because that is not the business of the repair shops of the Canadian National Railways. I have no control over it, but suppose the Canadian National repair shops, say in the centre from which my hon. friend from Winnipeg comes, did tender on a job of this sort and then fell down. Suppose their tender was a million dollars and the work cost a million and a half; my hon. friend and I would have to chip in to pay the deficit, not the railway shop men.

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