May 30, 1939 (18th Parliament, 4th Session)


Angus MacInnis

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


It is a considerable job. I contend that the harbours board could

Supply-Transport-Harbours Board
engage these men without letting contracts for the work. There may be a difficulty in that regard with which the minister is better acquainted than I am, but I say that a definite attempt has been made to break down the standard of living that has been built up over a great many years through organization. When labour conditions are broken down on projects carried out under the jurisdiction of the government private employers will be quick to take advantage and establish similar conditions. The government, in the employment of labour, in the wages paid and in the working conditions maintained, should be model employers and should set an example to private employers of labour. If they did so, labour organizations would not have to be continually struggling to maintain standards of living on government works.
I wonder if the minister would not give this matter further consideration. I suppose this particular work is finished now, but there will be other work of the same kind, and I would ask the minister to try to see this matter from perhaps a little different point of view. There is the workers' side of the question. I think if he would try to see the point of view of the organization for whose members I am speaking, we could avoid disputes of this kind in the future. And particularly where the Department of Labour rules that the work on a particular project is not ordinary maintenance work, the harbours board should accept the decision of the Department of Labour.

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