April 9, 1937 (18th Parliament, 2nd Session)


James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)


Further, he speaks very strongly against the Committee for Industrial Organization, It seems to me we should have a clear statement regarding the dominion government's policy in this matter. Again, if I may refer to news dispatches, the only source of information so far, the mounted police have been sent to Toronto by the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) on the request of Premier Hepburn. We should know quite definitely from whom the request came and whether the situation in Oshawa is sufficiently grave to warrant the sending of a large force to Toronto.
Several important considerations immediately emerge. First of all we hear a good deal about the sit-down strike. It is quite true that in the United States the Committee for Industrial Organization has made use of the sit-down strike on various occasions, but I would say that the C.I.O. and the sit-down strike are by no means identical. The sit-down strike may be, as the Minister of Justice said the other day, illegal in Canada. Under our present legislation it certainly seems to involve trespass.
I would draw to the minister's attention an excellent article in the New Republic of

Labour Dispute-Oshawa Strike
two or three weeks ago, which suggests that at least American law needs some revision along this line, because great bodies of workmen have certain claims that cannot be so lightly set aside. In our more modern development of industry, where there is not a single individual employer engaging a single man called an employee, but a great corporation, with shareholders scattered all over the world with the factory under the direction of a manager, that manager cannot simply dictate to thousands or tens of thousands of men who have been drawn from all parts of the country, who have their interests, and equity if you like, in the business because of their special training, the location of their homes and so on-under these circumstances the situation is radically altered. This New Republic article goes on to state that we must come to a realization that the sit-down strike, in view of all these circumstances, is not quite so illegal as it would seem to be on the surface.

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